Nature is important to me.
I am part of nature,
not its observer.
My spirit is lifted when I submerge into
a deep valley between grand ranges,
then I merge into the rock, the soil, the air,
the inner energy of nature,
and I find the harmony between man and nature.
— Li Huayi
From 13 November to 14 December 2019, Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery is proud to present the solo exhibition of Li Huayi “Law of Nature, Tao of Man”, showcasing two magnificent works of multiple-screen ink painting Ripples of Gleam and Zen of Winter, together with three sets of fan format ink painting of four seasons.
Li Huayi is an artist with thorough knowledge of the past and the present, the East and the West. Born in 1948 in Shanghai, at the age of six, he began to learn ink painting from Wang Jimei, and at sixteen, was introduced to Western art by his teacher Zhang Chongren, who was trained at the Royal Academy in Brussels. In 1982, Li Huayi immigrated to San Francisco. He enrolled in Academy of Art, San Francisco, studying Western art and received a master's degree in 1984. His works are widely collected by prestigious museums, including the British Museum, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard Art Museums, Brooklyn Museum, New York, Honolulu Museum of Art, Suzhou Museum, M+ Museum, Hong Kong and Hong Kong Museum of Art.
In the early 1990s, inspired by the works of the masters of Song Dynasty Li Cheng, Fan Kuan and Guo Xi, Li Huayi established his own style of ink painting by infusing the spirit of Chinese literati paintings with a contemporary awareness. He has seamlessly connected tradition and contemporary and established his unique relationship of heaven, earth and men.
Around 2006, Li Huayi began to explore a new form of ink painting. Placing his landscape hanging scroll in front of a compelling backdrop of large panels, he plays with multiple two-dimensional illusions and creates a unique three-dimensional visual effects. In the latest work Ripples in Gleam and Zen of Winter, which were created in 2017 and 2019 respectively, Li Huayi examines possible relationships between two and three dimensionality, physical space and its painted counterpart, bringing ink art a part of the contemporary Chinese art world.
To quote from the article Huayi Landscape written by Wu Hongliang, Vice President of Beijing Fine Art Academy,
“…Li Huayi’s ‘multiple screens’ has an additional sense of installation. He is not trying to create gimmicks of any sort or to please certain concepts, but is coming from a consideration for the viewing experience, with the aim of allowing the screens format to produce greater visual impact…
Furthermore, Chinese painting is different from Western oil painting in that Chinese painting is an art that calms you. If the viewer wants to ponder in front of the painting or to carefully study the work, then there needs to be a visual focus, and the vertical scroll will serve to guide the viewer’s line of sight. Hence, Li Huayi’s ‘multiple screens’ are not only interesting in form, but they are even more of a reflection on the artist’s thoughts on how to present traditional paintings better and how to facilitate the viewer’s experience and appreciation in the modern environment…
Throughout all of Li Huayi’s works on screens, there is a free-spirited current underneath the fine brushstrokes on the surface; it is a bold experiment in the serious practice of antiquity. The artist seamlessly connects tradition and progressiveness, and as these elements come together in his pieces, a new chapter is turned.”