Since the Beauty is an exhibition featuring the paintings of three exceptional meticulous brush artists: Zhang Yu, Jin Sha, and Lu Peng.
These outstanding artists have created their compositions using traditional Chinese ink and color on silk materials, which reveal each artist’s sophisticated meticulous brush painting practices, and showcases their distinctive depictions that address the dilemma of everyday life, and the challenges confronting contemporary society.
Zhang Yu received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts, Shanxi Normal University, studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, and the China National Academy of Arts. The artist has been inspired by Renaissance religious altar pieces, the artwork of Italian artist Giuseppe Castiglione, who served at the Qianlong Emperor’s Imperial Art Academy, and additional Western and Chinese art ideas and traditions.
In her unique exhibition paintings, Zhang Yue has fused traditional Chinese landscape and ancestor portrait painting practices with contemporary Western pop art elements and cultural concerns. The artist has portrayed a series of pensive-looking, baldheaded children with downcast eyes as her personal artistic vehicle.
In each painted portrait, Zhang Yue has placed her child subjects against different backdrops: Two babies are positioned against blank-colored grounds, while two toddlers are featured in front of rocky Chinese landscape scenes. But all figures are expensively attired in lavish Ming and Qing dynasty silk dragon robes, symbolizing the past power and splendor of Chinese rulers, and wear small gold crowns, signifying western emperors’ power and authority.
Punctuating the painting surfaces and complementing two child figures are high-maintenance hairless cats, which require significant funds to purchase and considerable financial outlay for their upkeep. Both felines are garbed in miniature versions of costly and coveted contemporary Western designer clothing. The remaining two toddler figures are painted with hand gestures regularly found in portraits of western religious icon paintings.
Combing influences from Western pop art and classical Chinese art practices, Zhang Yue’s meticulous brush paintings present her viewers with both complicated and unique visions of past, present, and future struggles facing all societies. Indeed, the isolation and apprehension apparent on the faces of Zhang Yue’s children reflect the anxieties confronting the world today.
Born in 1968, and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Chinese Painting Department at the Central Academy of Fine Art. Jin Sha has used
diverse Western, and at times Chinese, masterpiece paintings as prototypes, offering his viewers a new take on familiar and famous paintings.
Indeed, the exceptional meticulous brush artist has imaginatively preserved the attire of his subjects, but has eliminated their actual figures, leaving viewers to contemplate corresponding contemporary replacements.
The Neoclassical painting, Napoleon Crossing the Saint- Bernard Pass (1801), by French artist Jacques-Louis David has served as a model for Jin Sha’s painting, Goodbye David, Where is the Way?
Both paintings share several similarities: a vertical format featuring a landscape, which serves as backdrop for Napoleon sitting astride a rearing steed as he points towards victory. However, Jin Sha’s version differs from the original in several ways: the artist has cleverly retained Napoleon’s remarkably detailed military garb, two corner hat, and intricately embossed saber cover and horse fittings, all wrapped within a billowing pink cloak, but has eliminated the actual figures of both horse and man. Jin Sha’s faceless Napoleon wears a white mask to prevent contracting covid 19, dark sunglasses preclude any knowledge of the economic consequences of the virus, while he continues to smoke a pipe of temptation, a symbol of Napoleon’s and all politicians’ pursuit of absolute power.
David’s propaganda painting praised both the power and righteousness of Napoleon and his military victory. But Jin Sha’s Goodbye David, Where is the Way? acknowledges that the Covid -19 virus has still not been entirely eradicated, and its universal catastrophic health and economic consequences continue to be shared by all humans today.
American Gothic, a painting created by Grant Wood during America’s depression in the 1930s, reveals the life of the country’s farmers and their determination to survive this traumatic economic event. Jin Sha has used this painting as a prototype, illustrating the dilemma Chinese citizens face today as the country is transformed from a traditional agrarian society to into a contemporary industrial powerhouse.
In Last Gothic, Jin Sha has duplicated Wood’s painting format, featuring both the dejected-looking unmarried daughter and stern-looking farmer father figures in frontal poses before their home. Keeping the subjects’ attire, but eliminating their actual bodies and faces, Jin Sha has painted a pair of dark glasses in place of the father’s missing eyes, blinding the farmer to the devastating consequences of globalization, and the social and economic changes confronting him.
Indeed, a portion of China’s population has become increasingly lazy and self-indulgent, and their pursuit of wealth and consumer goods are represented by the farmer’s painted pink pipe, apple, and the pink dollar sign featured on the daughter’s cameo pin.
In Grant’s painting, the pitchfork, a common tool employed for arduous farm labor, represents the
American farmers’ diligence and courage in the face of adversity. However, in Jin Sha’s painting, the pink-colored pitchfork and apple are metaphors for his compatriots persist pursuit of pleasure, while remaining indifferent to demanding work.
In his companion painting, Jin Sha has portrayed a smaller version of the pink pitchfork, but has added an intricately embellished, expensive handle and the remains of a partially eaten pink apple, images for the artist which symbolize craving, longing, and lust.
Madonna of the Magnificat, Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli’s 15th century masterpiece, serves as a model for Jin Sha’s 2021 three- piece painting assemblage, Conception Notification.
Botticelli’s unusual circular painting format presents the Virgin Mary embracing the Christ child. The three attendants flanking Mary’s left, extend a book for her to pen the final lines of poem, Magnificat,praising God’s miracle of enabling Mary’s barren cousin to become pregnant.
Each of Jin Sha’s flawless three-painting formats resemble abstract representations of sperms and their whip-like tails. The artist’s primary painting showcases a pink embryo egg of conception on the Virgin’s lap, replacing Botticelli’s infant Jesus’ image. Jin Sha’s four painting figures, lacking faces and bodies, are all garbed in Renaissance clothing. However, all four women sport contemporary black glasses, preventing them from acknowledging the complicated ethical issues involved with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) pregnancies today.
Botticelli’s personages are placed in front of a stone lintel, revealing a sun-filled, tranquil landscape setting beyond, the Renaissance artist’s metaphor for the power and glory of God. Jin Sha’s figures are also placed before a stone windowsill, but the artist has altered Botticelli’s idyllic landscape, and Jin Sha’s distant vista reveals a much more alarming scene, presenting several polluting mountains in an overcast terrain, suggesting a much more desolate contemporary reality.
Although pregnancy and how it is achieved is a major theme found in both Botticelli and Jin Sha masterpieces, each artist has tackled this topic with their own unique perspective and artistic approach.
The right companion painting showcases a cut and enlarged embryo egg image; the left companion painting contains a quotation from the bible written in Chinese calligraphy: Then dust will return to its place, and all life will return to God who has created it.
Artist Lu Peng was born in 1967, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Capital Normal University in 1991, followed by a Ph.D. from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2003.
Since the early 1990s Lu Peng’s exceptional meticulous brush paintings have continued to creatively record the uncertain journey through the changing cultural and political landscape of contemporary China.
Lu Peng’s exhibition masterpiece, The Tower of Babel, does not explore the western biblical myth describing the creation of the world’s diverse languages. Instead, the artist presents a massive, imaginary stone tower, replete with an assortment of Chinese characters scaling its steep steps, pillars, and walls, all hoping their climbing quest will lead to the discovery of an ideal heaven.
Throughout his painting, Lu Peng has portrayed entangled people, plants, animals, and objects, revealing a connected, complex, diverse world and its complicated future.
Among the eclectic collection of painted figures featured is a strolling winged youth garbed in a blue robe, revealing the fleeting nature of childhood. The youngster’s right hand grasps a flag symbolizing history and ideals, while his left hand clutches a halberd, signifying the universal struggles he and every human face.
The painting also presents a naked teenager riding a white horse, representing the recklessness and passion of youth. Several additional nude young men and women are interspersed on the painting surface, implying delight in their mutual love and desire. The lower left painting reveals magnolia flowers, which are symbols spring, purity, and hope. However, two apples of enticement, resting on the lower right stone steps, suggests that no one is spared from a lifetime of temptations.
Lu Peng has purposely portrayed several animals in his masterpiece. A large, formidable lion is presented in the painting middle. This “King of Beasts” stares directly at the viewer with eyes that are both confidence and commanding, suggesting a life of pride and accomplishments.
The black panther, featured on the upper painting left, is portrayed with huge, piercing, yellow eyes which enables the animal to strike his prey at night. Known as the “ghost of the jungle”, the panther is associated with strength and power, as well as mystery, magic, and intuition, enviable attributes for both people and creatures to possess.
As a nod to the world’s environmental concerns, Lu Peng has painted both a dinosaur body and its skeleton image, retaining their intimidating teeth and claws. But despite these threatening features, a combination of volcanic activity and an asteroid destroyed the reptiles’ ecosystem, dooming them to extinction, a vital environmental lesson for contemporary society to learn.
A wide variety of nature’s insects, birds, and vines punctate the painting surface, illustrating all are intertwined and cannot escape interaction to survive.
An assortment of books is featured as well, often concealing the readers’ faces, and it is uncertain what life lessons they contain. The painting images are secured from top to bottom with a meandering red cloth, connecting collectively all plants, insects, animals, and humans, and supplying an irreplaceable source of energy essential to exist in the world today.
Asian Art Coordinating Council
100 S. Madison St, 6C Denver.CO 80209
新宗教·圣殇 The new religion· pieta / 53.5 × 63cm / 绢本设色 / 2022
新宗教·寓言 NO.2 The new religion·Parable NO.2 / 45× 55cm / 绢本设色 / 2022
向大师致敬:寻找皮埃罗·戴尔·波拉约洛 / 51cm× 44cm / 绢本设色 / 2010
路 在 何 方 / 140cm× 102cm / 限 量 数 码 版 画 版 次:5/25 / 2023
Artist Jacques-Louis David
大卫的宣传画赞扬了拿破仑的力量和正义以及他的军事胜利。但金沙的《再见大卫，路在哪里？》， 承认Covid -19病毒仍未完全根除，其普遍的灾难性健康和经济后果，仍然是今天全人类共同承受的。
《美国哥特式》是格兰特·伍德在 1930 年代美国经济大萧条期间创作的一幅画，揭示了该国农民的生活以及他们在这场痛苦的经济事件中生存的决心。金沙以这幅画为原型，描绘了当今中国从传统农业社会转变为当代工业强国所面临的困境。
文艺复兴时期艺术家桑德罗·波提切利 (Sandro Botticelli) 的 15 世纪杰作《圣母颂》是金沙 2021 年三幅绘画组合《受胎告知》的原型。
Location Uffizi, Florence（图片来自维基百科）
金沙的三幅画完美无缺，每幅作品都类似于精子及其鞭状尾巴的抽象表现。艺术家的主要画作展示了圣母膝上受孕的粉红色胚胎蛋，取代了波提切利的婴儿耶稣图像。金沙画中的四个人物，没有面孔和身体，都穿着文艺复兴时期的服装。然而，所有四位女性都戴着现代黑眼镜，这使她们无法承认当今体外受精 (IVF) 怀孕所涉及的复杂伦理问题。
受 胎 告 知2021 / 28cm×18cm / 绢 本 设 色 / 2021
通天塔 /Tower of Babel / 330× 450cm / 绢本工重彩笔画 / 2022
神思 / 54 × 68cm / 绢本彩墨 / 2023
虞美人/ 40×120cm / 绢本彩墨/2023