LOU ZHENGGANG: Elevation
Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong is proud to present Elevation, a solo exhibition that showcases a new series of abstract paintings by Lou Zhenggang, the Chinese artist who has been living in Japan for over 30 years.
Lou Zhenggang’s creation ranges from traditional rice paper and ink, to canvas, oil, acrylic and other media, merging study and reference of Chinese ink art with practice of Japanese Gutai as well as European and American Abstract Expressionism. She moved from calligraphy to paintings that are free from linguistic symbols, turning abstract landscape into expression of inner voice, and has formed her unique concept and expression technique. Lou’s works are not randomly composed by her sub-consciousness and freely dripping paint, instead, the artist tries to balance consciousness and sub-consciousness and coordinate free expression with composition, striving for harmony and balance in a way Piet Mondrian did.
The foundation of Lou’s creation lies in Eastern aesthetics, however her techniques clearly combine the essence of different art forms, creating a momentary impression of colors, with a pure psychological experience and visual sensation. Harmony is the major character in Lou’s work, it transcends nationality, race, region and even gender, pursuing an aesthetic experience that is shared by all human beings. Along this journey, Lou has let go of her old self, focusing on exploring and practicing, delivering new creation that surprises everyone.
In recent years, Lou has immersed herself in the beautiful landscape and the rich culture of Izu in Japan. Her intuitive responses to the sea and the sky, local culture and history, as well as her experience and memory of life, have elevated her works to another level of presentation. The unpredictable natural phenomena formed by water and wind are depicted repeatedly in her works, sometimes they are quiet and calm, yet sometimes they are gushing and turbulent.
Water and clouds are the major themes of Lou’s recent works. They are the most fundamental substances in nature, and human’s emotional reflections towards them are characterized as “primitive” and “universal”. In Lou’s view, life is like water, whether it is trickling, or as calm as a mirror; it could be like waves splashing, devouring mountains and rivers – life goes in cycle, and it never comes to a stop.
Elevation is Lou’s second solo exhibition in Hong Kong, after the first exhibition that exhibited a series of abstract paintings and a large-scale art installation in 2008. Twelve years form a cycle of Chinese zodiac years. After 12 years, Lou returns to Hong Kong with her brand-new series of works, presenting the artist’s persistent creative energy and increasingly exquisite expressions.
The 20 works in this exhibition will not only showcase the sea and the sky through Lou’s eyes, but also her inner thoughts towards nature, heaven, earth and human. The clouds and water in Lou’s works transform natural subjects to imagery objects, from reflection to shape of heart. They contain artistic aesthetics of implicit illusion, as well as contemplation and epiphany, with these it is hoped that the viewers can find resonance and be mesmerized.
About Lou Zhenggang
Lou Zhenggang was born in Heilongjiang, China in 1966. She started learning calligraphy and painting at a young age and was recognized as ‘exceptional’ in Chinese calligraphy scene in the 1970s and 1980s. Lou moved to Japan in 1986 and has long been active in the international art scene. Her works are included in major museums and private collections internationally. With decades of artistic training and accomplishment, Lou has fully mastered the technics of traditional ink painting, she also has rich experience and strong control in the use of other artistic media and tools. Lou constantly surpasses herself in her artistic journey. With her strong calligraphy foundation, unique aesthetic insights and humanistic qualities, Lou has created “Oriental Melody”, “Life and Love”, “Sun and Moon”, “Heart”, “Harmony & Integration”, “Nature”, “Evaluation” and other series of works. Her works are in grand scale, with “universe and nature” as imagination, “love” as the soul of creation, they convey the artist’s ideology on various humanistic propositions. Lou’s works are seemingly traditional ink painting, yet they present a strong contemporary artistic concept; while under the abstract form of expression, they encompasses profound implication of caring for mankind and nature.