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           Volume 10 |Issue 09 | March 04, 2011 |


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The Timeless Beauty of Chinese Art

Fayza Haq

Xue He, Chang Yuan.

The exhibition of three leading Chinese artists, which opened last weekend at Gallery Chitrak in Dhanm-ondi, presented the subtlety, sophistication and superb vision of Chinese Art. The painters are Ma Wei, Xue H and Zhou Lin Ping who are contemporary artists yet they bring conventional charm and style of scroll painting with flowers, birds and human figures of the past. Human figures done in Zhou Lin Ping's dream-like paintings, have trailing, flowing clothes apparently of silk or fine cotton and carry books, pens or sticks in the hands depicting ancient times. At times, the angle is not on the humans , but on nature and purely nature , at its best. Hence we see the flamboyant plum blossoms, vermilion and orange leaves, with pointed ends and numerous other flowers which appear like orchids or other dainty elements of nature like jade of blue or purple elements that hang from the branches and marvel the onlooker. In between are pale jade bamboo leaves, fragile mauve chrysanthemums with tiny snow white butterflies flying in between. The blossoms, leaves, branches and twigs have a splendour and harmony of their own. The pale gold and white rounded birds , done in few dramatic, masterful strokes are the epitome of tranquillity. Smudges and black and grey land contrast to the white backdrop. The “Expression” series “Xishuang Banna” certainly have a magic of their own.

In Xue He's scenes with endless grey clouds and bits of land with bulrushes, tiny waterfalls, upturned bits of land masses in shades of grey, brown and pale green lend peace and contentment to the viewer. They are complete landscapes that appear to be continued sketches. The impressions of Snowy Plateau, depicts the four seasons mind-boggling in the representations of pine trees, snow caps, snow covered paths in the same area in elongated swirls of jade, brunt umber, and masses of black.

Zhou Lin Ping, Figure Drawing.
Ma Wei, Rising High.

The four paintings spun around Gansu depict land masses,waterways, a few barren stubs of branches. They bring the rise and fall of endless masses of hillocks that might include a house or dried, gnarled shrubs of two. Done in pinks, greens blues and white– with outlines of jet-black – the paintings are overwhelming.

Zhou Lin Ping's figure drawings are totally fascinating. They take one away to the world of past with resting middle-aged men, with paunches, scanty hair on the chin and under the nose. They wear flowing robes, tied with sash, under the protruding belly. The men – chatting and consulting with one another– appear at ease with themselves and with their surroundings.

There are minimum possible colours and quick strokes. There is the addition of a few more strokes of mostly barren tree trunks – and the inclusion of a handful of juniper or plum leaves or just bamboo springs in the backdrops. Pale washes of sepia and pale jade are used in the clothes. The figures are simple and striking. Forceful strokes dominate the paintings.

The work of these gifted artists takes one to far away lands in a far away time and reinforce the fact that traditional Chinese themes and styles can never lose their charm or ability to mesmerise.

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