New Thinking artworks
After the reform and opening up of China that started in 1978 under leader Deng Xiaoping, Chinese art developed in new ways. Artists absorbed techniques from modern Western art while at the same time appreciating and being influenced by traditional Chinese art. They broke free from purely realistic styles and were encouraged to experiment in modernist art practices. The combination of the spiritual expression of traditional Chinese paintings and the expressive and abstract notion of Western art created a dynamic new form of Chinese art during this period.
All works are from the National Art Museum of China.
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Dreaming of the Mountain from my Hometown, 1998
Ink and Wash, 203cm x 123cm.
Chen Ping, born in 1960, is from Beijing. He graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1984 and became a teacher there. He is a professor, vice-president and a supervisor of doctoral candidates in the School of Chinese Painting.
Chen is an accomplished poet, calligrapher, painter and creator of signature stamps. He neither denies the traditional arts nor challenges the modern arts, and is not influenced by contemporary radical trends. His work is purely an expression of his own personal experience. He specialises in landscape paintings characterised by mystic lighting and an expression of a modern consciousness. For a long time, he painted an imagined and idealised spiritual world, which he dubbed the 'Feiwa Villa'. This recent painting belongs to this series.
Ink and Wash, 184cm x 143cm.
Lu Yushun, born in 1962, of the Man ethnic group, is from Harbin, Heilongjiang province. In 1983 he graduated from the Fine Arts Department of Harbin Teachers University. In 1986, he received further education in the Chinese Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, where he was then seconded. He is the vice-president of the China National Academy of Painting, supervisor of doctoral students in the Chinese National Academy of Arts, and member of the board of directors of the Chinese Artists Association.
Ink and Wash, 130cm x 200cm.
Ma Shulin, born in 1956 in Liaoning, Shenyang province, graduated from the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in 1982 and became a teacher there. He was vice-president of the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, dean of a branch of the academy, principal of the affiliated high school of the academy and vice-chairman of the Liaoning Artists Association.
He is now the deputy director of the National Art Museum of China and a professor. He is a member of the board of directors of the Chinese Painting Artists Association, member of the Beijing Research Institute of Culture and History and a researcher for the Research Institute of Traditional Chinese Painting. He receives a special government subsidy from the State Council. His works have been selected for many national and international exhibitions, have been collected by museums and galleries, and have won many awards. Catalogues of his paintings and photographs have been published.
This painting won one of the 'Excellent Work' awards at the Sixth National Fine Arts Exhibition. The geese, with their clean white wings outstretched, create a strong visual impact, and the water falls from their feathers like snowflakes. They line up gracefully, one after another, like ballerinas, singing happily. The meticulous detail of the ink-rendered background conveys an expression of warmth and vividness.
Lotus Pond without Lotus Buds, 1990
Ink and Wash, 42cm x 97cm.
Li Laoshi (1957–1996) was born in Harbin. He majored in fine arts at the Harbin Teachers School, and in 1985 he graduated from the Department of Folk Arts of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He was editor at the People's Fine Arts Publishing House.
Taihangshan Steel Wall, 1984
Ink and Wash, 200cm x 200cm.
Wang Yingchun and Yang Lizhou were both born in 1942. They are respectively from Taiyuan and Linyi, Shanxi province. In 1957 they enrolled in the affiliated high school of Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts and in 1961 they commenced undergraduate studies in the 'Chang'an painting style' under Liu Wenxi. They were married in 1967 and, in 1978, they undertook postgraduate studies in the Chinese Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts under the tutelage of Ye Qianyu and Jiang Zhaohe. Wang Yingchun is now a 'national first-grade artist', working in the Research Institute of Chinese Traditional Painting. Yang Lizhou was formerly the director of the National Art Museum of China and is now vice-chairman of the Chinese Artists Association.
Both artists are skilled in Chinese and Western painting styles and composition. Their work mainly takes as its subject epic revolution history, and draws extensively on symbolism and implied meaning. This painting, which was awarded a gold medal at the Sixth National Arts Exhibition, is considered to be a masterpiece and was a breakthrough in the creation of the artists' unique style. The group of revolutionary leaders appear to have been carved out of the mountains, symbolising the resilience of the Chinese people.
The Poet Qu Yuan Bids Farewell, 1994
Line Drawing in Traditional Ink and Brush, 195cm x 181.5cm.
Feng Yuan, born in 1952, is from Shanghai. He graduated from the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts where he became a teacher and, later, vice-president and a professor. He was transferred to the Ministry of Culture, and held the posts of director of the Science and Education Division, director of the Fine Arts Division and director of the National Art Museum of China. Since 2005, he has held the posts of vice-chairman of the China Federation of Literary and Art Articles and the vice-chairman of the Chinese Artists Association.
This painting uses traditional ink-and-wash style line drawing. Feng Yuan takes as his subject Qu Yuan's famous poem Li Sao. Qu (about 340–278 BCE) was a scholar and advisor in the Emperor's court, banished for disagreeing with other counsellors. He wrote this poem to express his humiliation and sense of injustice, and committed suicide shortly afterwards. He is now seen by intellectuals as the embodiment of human dignity and morality. In the painting, the dramatic figure of Qu Yuan with his hands outstretched to the heavens conveys a sense of passion and moral integrity even in despair.