Sunday, February 13, 2011

artists Zhu Jinshi, Zhang Yu, Lei Hong and He Xiangyu, Frick Fine Arts, Pgh PA Pitt


Curated by Professor Gao Minglu / Featuring artists Zhu Jinshi, Zhang Yu, Lei Hong and He Xiangyu

University Art Gallery, Frick Fine Arts Building, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Opening: Monday, 14th February, 2011, 5-7pm
Show runs from 15th February - 18th March, 2011


PITTSBURGH – Contrasts Gallery is proud to present MIND SPACE, an exhibition curated by Gao Minglu that will feature the work of artists Zhu Jinshi, Zhang Yu, Lei Hong and He Xiangyu at the University of PIttsburgh art gallery. The exhibition will explore MAXIMALISM, the philosophical core of Chinese abstract art and a concept that places emphasis on the spiritual experience of the artist in the process of creation. Maximalism’s primary objective is to question and overthrow assumptions about the meaning of art.

In Maximalist theory, the meaning of a painting is not expressed by its surface or subject matter and a painting is not considered a unique and privileged product of human culture containing commonly held values of virtue and creativity. According to Maximalists, the meaning of art goes beyond language (yan bu jin yi) and comes from a dialogue between the artist and the material object. It is a response to the rapidly changing material world.

While the work in the exhibition is similar in appearance to modern or conceptual art, it has a different theoretical foundation. Most Maximalist artists consider their work to be incomplete and fragmented records of daily meditation. They do not adhere to compositional principles or ideas and their art is natural, repetitious and fragmentary. The work functions as what is often called a liushui zhang in Chinese, literally, “an account book of streaming water,” which means an everyday record of something that is extremely unimportant, micro-trivial and fragmented from daily life.

This exhibition was first presented at Contrasts Gallery in Shanghai in the summer of 2010, and will travel to Dallas, New York and Los Angeles, introducing the USA to a new realm of art and expression.

The artists included in MIND SPACE:

Zhu Jinshi has devoted himself to abstract painting for three decades. His installation work often involves Chinese rice paper (Xuan zhi) and ink. His installation in this exhibition is a metal container filled with ink and Xuan paper. The paper is half-submerged in ink. The top part of the paper will gradually turn dark, giving the audience a chance to observe the process of painting without human involvement. In addition, there are also a few of Zhu’s abstract paintings in the exhibition, which feature his diary and notes on the back.

For more than two decades, Zhang Yu has used random fingerprints, universal marks of identification, to make “ink paintings” on scrolls. By turning a symbol of human identification into a repetitious “abstract” mark, Zhang Yu’s fingerprints lose their traditional symbolic meaning and are transformed into universal symbols of beauty and infinity. Every touch is a dialogue with nature.

Lei Hong creates pencil drawings composed of dots, lines and squares that have certain characteristics of Western abstract paintings but not the rational structural elements. Instead, Lei’s drawings reveal a spirit of humanism. The dots and lines are not conceptual, but marks that relate to traditional Chinese ink painting. His works remind one of a “line of flying wild geese,” “chanting on a returning fishing boat at dusk,” and the “lonely smoke in the great desert” from his drawings. His marks suggest a narrative about his imagination and his feelings at a given moment.

He Xiangyu uses crystallized Coco-Cola as ink for painting and calligraphy. This process transforms an industrial, commercial product into spontaneous literati expressionism. Xiangyu’s art also imbues the process of mass reproduction with the spiritual quality of self-meditation.

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The Pittsburgh Art Blog features selected pittsburgh artists and upcoming exhibits with photos from the artists and galleries. since the major press outlets do not go beyond a directory listing of exhibits, blogs are needed to promote pittsburgh artists and their work. the blog also calls attention to the inferiority complex of pittsburgh art and how it's perpetuated by the major players in town. Started on August 20,2007. pittsburgh area galleries and art venues are listed at the sister site www.PghGalleries.com.

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