On view October 21 - December 16, 2017
Published : Thursday, September 28, 2017 | 12:05 PM
The Marengo Gallery is pleased to present Changing Landscapes , a group exhibition featuring recent works by Yang De Yu, Xu Ze, and He Ming Ke. In the exhibition, the artists show the effects of modernity on Chinese landscape painting, the natural Chinese landscape, and traditional Chinese values. These artists attempt to find harmony between different elements such as east and west, natural and man-made, and stone and traditional culture. In keeping with the tradition of Chinese landscape painting, the artists do not depict real landscapes, instead arranging natural elements to express their own philosophical attitudes toward nature, spirituality, and modernity.
Xu Ze is interested in the juxtaposition between modern cities and traditional landscapes. His Homeland series contrasts these elements to show tension and suggest the overtaking of traditional landscapes by urbanization and modernity. The artist connects the natural Chinese landscape to greater emphasis on spirituality. As these landscapes are destroyed to make way for modern cities, the artist is concerned that people have turned away from spirituality and are more interested in obtaining material possessions. Xu Ze depicts his landscapes using traditional Chinese painting techniques, such as scattered perspective and quick brushstrokes that create a more dynamic scene. The artist will also present Water Illusion No. 5, which depicts the personification of water. While his Homeland series shows imbalance between the city and nature, Xu’s Water Illusion series shows harmony between nature and man. In both of these series, the artist reflects upon the connection between nature and spirituality and the harmony or discord that can accompany changes to the natural environment.
Yang De Yu combines Impressionist style and Literati form to create paintings that are a unique hybrid of East and West. The paintings he will present include The Art of Meditation, Shushan, After the Rain, Sunset in the Hollow Mountain, and Early Spring. Although Yang De Yu uses a western style, the subject matter and philosophy behind his paintings is entirely Chinese. The artist does not depict actual places in China, but rather uses familiar natural language such as mountains, trees, and streams to express his own philosophical attitude toward nature. Instead of depicting a specific moment like the Impressionists, Yang De Yu depicts a more universal landscape that emanates with the meditative feelings of Buddhism. The Impressionist style is merely a tool that the artist uses to create works that are harmonious to him.
He Ming Ke will present paintings from his series The Story of the Stone. The paintings contrast women in traditional Chinese dress with stone, an object that endures through obstacles and corrosion. This series suggests that traditional Chinese culture cannot be removed from a person’s core being in spite of change or adversity. The title of the series refers to one of the most famous novels in China, also known as The Dream of Red Chamber . The novels tells the tale of the decline of a prominent family with the subplot of a sentient stone who desires to come to Earth from the heavens. The stone outlasts the family’s long struggle and eventual demise, which illustrates the Buddhist proverb “form is emptiness, emptiness is form” This phrase suggests that in the end a person’s family drama amounts to nothing from a universal perspective. By naming his series The Story of the Stone , He Ming Ke creates a subtle parallel between the novel and the painting to illustrate the persistence of Chinese culture despite the
passage of time.
Xu Ze was born in Qionglai, Sichuan province in 1973. He graduated from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute with a B.A in 1999. and later graduated from the painting department of the Central Academy of Fine Art with a M.A. in 2007. Xu is currently an associate professor of oil painting at Chengdu University of Fine Arts. He has exhibited around the world with recent solo exhibitions at XLY MoMA , Chengdu, China (2014) and Waikato Museum , Hamilton, New Zealand (2012). His recent group exhibitions include Dream of Sunshine, Yunan Fine Art Museum, Yunan China (2016); Power of the Morning: 20 Cities in China Young Artists Exhibit, Chongqing Fine Art Museum, Chongqing, China (2015), Each Their Own Path , Blue Roof Art Fair, Chengdu, China (2015), Surpass the Flesh: Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibit International Tour, National Museum of Art, Oslo, Norway (2014); Chifra 2013 “China French Art Exchange Tour” Champs-Elysées, Paris, France (2013). The artist currently lives in Beijing and Chengdu.
Yang De Yu was born in Sichuan province and later received a teaching education in 1984. He taught in the Southwest University Department of Fine Arts as a painting professor before starting his current professorship at Chengdu University School of Fine Arts. He has exhibited infrequently and predominantly in the Sichuan province. His most recent solo exhibition was at Pixel Art Space in Chengdu in 2014. The artist currently lives and works in Chengdu.
He Ming Ke was born in Sichuan province in 1968. He graduated from the Sichuan Fine Art Institute in 1992. He is a member of the Sichuan Artist Association and special appointed professor at The Fine Arts College of Sichuan Normal University and Xi’Chang Fine Arts School. His recent solo exhibitions include Chengdu Blue Elite Exhibitions Solo Exhibition – He Ming Ke (2015), and He Ming Ke Solo Studio Exhibition (2014). The artist’s recent group exhibitions include River Stream Tanghu Oil Painting Exhibition (2016), Contemporary Meijiang River Group Exhibition (2015), Sichuan Redwall Museum First Oil Painting Exhibition (2015), Blue Elite Group Exhibition – Oil Painting Portraits (2014), Switzerland and China Fine Art Exhibition (2013). The artist has primarily exhibited in the Sichuan Province and continues to live in Chengdu.
The Marengo Gallery is located at 18 N. Marengo Ave. in Pasadena.