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Art Critics Commentary of the "Hong Li Yi Xiang" exhibition


Tao Yongbai: (well-known art critic, a scholar of the China's Art Academy)

"The two artists have been to America for more than 20 years, using their domestic trained skills and their unique creation; they have made tremendous achievements there. This is not only very valuable, but also it's an opportunity for us to cogitate and to study. During the 20 years abroad, the art concepts were changing and new techniques were emerging, on the contrary, they insisted on realism, thereby, they were very well accepted by the American people. They created these art works in the US seriously and calmly, and we were all deeply moved by these paintings because they were so close to life, as if we can feel the fresh breath of life and the vitality of life. For example, from , created in 1979, it seemed we could hear them and feel their happiness. What's more, and can be seen in two different and distinct personalities. From the lifelike portrait of Mrs. Bush we can see her capable and strong personality, and from we see a kind, simple, generous and wise master artist. Their pictures both have form and spirit; they have drawn the living life and expressed the spirit of the human nature. They have painted the life of men, and they have painted the beauty of men.

Deng Pingyang: (Vice-President of Hunan Artist Association, Oil painting artist, well-known art critic)

Because I was also an oil painting artist, so I will share a little about the oil painting side of view.

First of all, the two artists grasp the style of the Western oil painting accurately. From the performance in those paintings we see there are several classical styles. For example, we can see the classical spirit of Pre-Raphaelite style from these paintings; such skill is the best oil painting skill in China. A lot of their works are created from their daily lives while in the US. Meanly they have used the American life style as their topic, and we can find some of the Sagent style on their performance. In their art pieces they have precisely portrayed the spirit of American society. We all know that in the American society connotations of idealism and realism can be combined into one and so is their culture. But Europe comparatively pay more attention to the spirit culture, on the material culture also not as sensitive as the United States, I think America have both idealism and realism in their culture, these have been deeply experienced through < Hong Li Yi Xiang >'s paintings. In their paintings there are a lot of images of American people which made this kind of Americanism standout.

Moreover, because of living in the United States for many years, the two artists have comparatively more confidence and understanding for the oil painting culture, for example they can visit many museums with great deal of the genuine masterpiece oil paintings, and this is something that we can not compare with. Is exactly because of having the opportunity seeing many, and contacting many, compare to the Artists in China their works are more mature and original. In their works, in addition to the foreign countries connotations of realism their works also reveals a breath of China, so the spirit of the two artists is now reviled here. From here we recognize their oil painting style clearly distinguishes between local artists. In their work, they have expressed a healthy spirit, a sunny and esthetics characteristic.

Jia Fangzhou: (well-known art critic)

I think they are painting sense of the times; the style has a great change after they went abroad. The pictures created when they are at home can arouse my memory about the 80s; those creations gave me a deep impression about that time. I'd like to prescribe them just like Xiong Bingming (famous Chinese French artists, philosophers) sent to Wu Guanzhong (very famous Chinese artist): "You are the painter painting the blessings of life!" The two painters have always been drawing the blessings of the common people. "Blessings" Can be interpreted in different way. They can use their paint brush to show their understanding of "Blessings", we can see that they have lived their part into the society which has lots of differences from China, and this is very difficult for most of Chinese artists. Watching their pictures, reminds me of a lot of the older generation of artists. The two artists are very skilled, have a strong ability to use Realism; when they facing a specific target, they have the ability to grasp it completely. It is interesting that they portrayed not only for one person as traditional, but used all of the portraits as a whole. From the composition of design to integrating the personal sketch within, they added many creative factors just like the masters of Impressionists. Personally I think these kinds of portrait paintings are rare in China.

Wang Duanting: (a researcher of China Art Research Institute. International art history research director)

Evidently, the two artists have got great improvements after they went abroad. In my opinion, this may contribute to the rich experience for viewing the western classic oil paintings. Such chance can enlighten them, give them inspiration, and help them to have deeper understanding, which makes the language of oil painting mature. That reminds me about Sargent and Cassatt, two impressionism painters of the 19th century. Just like them, Li Yi and Zhang Hongxiang have a fine combination of talents, skills, and feelings, especially embodies the combination of Sargent and Cassatt. The main subjects of their productions were the family life, children, and also natural human life affection, which made us feel harmoniously and warm. So we can say that they are two great artists who draw happiness, and happiness is something that every one wants to have. It was a pity that the exhibition was not enough to embody their achievement. If their original editions can be showed it will be a great impact for China's oil painting society, because domestically we don't have many artists who portraits happiness, so we hope in the future they would have bigger exhibitions and I believe it will have a greater impact. We all know the west oil painting, even the west art was born for remaining figures of people, and thereby their portraits can be kept in the world. After the Renaissance period, many famous museums rushed on to collect the oil painting art works, most European families made the painter draw portraits for them. However, our material lives have not been that kind of level, but that is acquirable. Undoubtedly, "Mona Lisa" represented the image and character of that place in time, because it has represented a nation's nationality and culture, and that's an example of surpassing one's portrait to something more. So that's why 's paintings have portrayed the contemporary life of Americans.

Huang Lin: (liberal arts professor of Capital Normal University, chief editor of the journal)

When I saw the pictures, the happiness has fulfilled my heart. I was deeply moved by "Mother", it was splendid and profound! Especially because she has a gorgeous beauty, it expressed the blessings of being a mother; it made us feel warm and tender. Being a Chinese artist taking a western art form such as oil painting to be recognized by the world is not an easy thing to do. They have portrait the Americans life from normal people's life to the white house life using oil painting, so after I have see them I feel shaken by those paintings, because they have painted and proved the happiness and blessings of people. Artists in China always put their subjective thought into their productions, sometimes it's violent and misery in conflict with peace and serenity. In contrast, the two artists' pictures were calm and comfortable, all of them showed the expectation for harmonious. I think this exhibition was heuristic for our domestic painters. What's more, the painting "Mrs. Bush" moved me strongly. It embodied the over all combination of women's thinking. Though she was not the President, her expression and the background showed that she was a wise and resolute woman. Over all, the two artists have showed us the perfect combination of public and personal!

Sun Xin: ("Economic Daily News" reporter, Master of Arts)

From the two artists' works, I can seem to find indiscriminate love and a kind of religious belief! It seems that they tried to let more people feel their love and deep religious belief, they made the reality idealistic, all of these are obvious! In several pastoral style paintings, the artist tried to express their individual feelings and living environment. Perhaps living abroad for many years, the two painters embodied equality and freedom in their creative deeply. We can find westernization in their works. Facing a consumer culture society the two artists focus on thinking of man to man, man to society, and the existence of some kind of inevitable link about man to God. Even the performance in the painting is an ordinary life, but they have an extraordinary breeze to it. They include a feeling of religious joy, which reminds me of a poem: "power of delivering has placed the human disappointment on earth", which means the expression about human nature and people's longing for the future have been recorded in the paintings.

The Summary

Wang: I discovered that 70% of the works including "Laughter" in this exhibition are expressing happiness and joy. Tao: Their paintings are all showing indiscriminate love. Jia: Many Chinese painters regarded to integrate their extremism and individualism, possibly because of too much background and experience, but Li Yi and Zhang Hong Xiang's paintings are very simple, very sunny, reflected the self-confidence Americans. Wang: The couples now in China are very special and personalized. Some artists are willing to painting suffering, and some artists are willing to painting happiness! Li Yi and Zhang Hong Xiang are the painters painting happiness! Tao: In short, this exhibition is to provide the idea of "make the world filled with love" and the sprit of "make the world filled with love"!