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December 4, 2009

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Splashy evocative ink-wash with modern aura

THE beauty of mountains, forests and rivers is an abiding theme in traditional Chinese ink-wash paintings, representing the zen spirit.

That spirit is challenged these days by landscapes that feature forests of high-rises.

Four artists - Xiao Haichun, Le Zhenwen, Chen Pengfei and Li Jinkun - are pursuing the timeless theme in a modern way.

They throw off what they see as the shackles of traditional technique and go with their own brush strokes.

For them, technique is no longer that important. They are more keen on the feedback of visitors and creating a new visual experience in traditional mountain-and-river paintings.

Xiao conjures mountains and rivers not realistically but with bold blocs of ink splash that vaguely outline blurred images, both familiar and distant.

Compared with Xiao's works, Chen's paintings have an intellectual aura about them. There are always tiny ancient figures wrapped in the awesome natural surroundings. They're doing ordinary things: chatting, fishing, walking, relaxing - things many people no longer have time to enjoy.

"So many viewers try to imagine themselves in my paintings, wishing it could be real," says Chen. "I am not saying development of society and technology is a bad thing but our attitudes and goals should be reconsidered."

Le takes visitors to a surreal world of mountains and rivers that seem to exist only above the clouds.

Date: through December 20, 9am-4pm

Venue: 3-4/F, Mingyuan Art Center, 1199 Fuxing Rd M.

Tel: 6473-8383


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