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Oil paints are the materials I have been using for many years, and I am quite familiar with them. I am also acquainted with the characteristics of paints in different brands, so it is appropriate for me to use such a handy tool for creation. For example, some domestic-made paints are lack of spreadability but quite oily, and that is exactly what I need. Some pigments, such as red and plum red, will come through to the surface at regular intervals. When using these paints, I have to consider what effect they will have later. Each paint has its own character. Over the years, I have developed the habit of not mixing colors on the palette while working intentionally or unintentionally. If I need to have a bit of blue-gray on canvas, I might start with a new layer of red squeezed out from the paint tube, then a layer of blue, then a few coats of white, which shows a blue-grey in the end. In the past, I paint realistic oil paintings. I would the paints to the so-called accurate color before apply it to the canvas, and the color was concentrated and controllable. In such layered and superimposed coloring, there will be a small sample of the desired color in my mind, but when I paint in such a layered manner, there is always a feeling of being out of reach. There are often many unexpected effects when you are trying hard to achieve it. When painting, I would sometimes encounter a bottleneck and I would paint back and forth repeatedly, let the colors going from cool tone to warm tone to cool tone again, and shade from light to dark to light again. This kind of process that seems to be wasting time and doing useless work often has the so-called flash of light, but it is actually a process of using the paint to blend the time to wait for the result.
When you draw a line and a color on the canvas, space is created. For example, a straight line can be regarded as the place where two faces intersect. The color and shape give us a different feeling, This is a kind of mental space. I like to see and understand the space in my own way, from the real world to flat images, it goes through a process from 3D to flat simulating 3D, while I prefer a shallow space on my canvas. Generally speaking, the image is usually composed of positive and negative shapes, the positive shape is real, forward, is the focus of the picture. The negative shape is imaginary, backward, and plays the role of setting off the positive shape. Visually, what I want to do is to break down and weaken the positive shapes and strengthen the negative ones, which includes adding more paint to guide the vision, putting a lot of time in painting, etc., in order to balance and weaken the spatial relationship between positive and negative shapes. The creation of space is often accompanied by time. In terms of the title of this exhibition, “Hei Qiao” used to be a village in Beijing, and the Hei Qiao Art District is also where I used to work, but now the whole area has been transformed into a wetland park. “Hei Qiao” has became a memory for many artists, and the two words “Hei Qiao” become suspended for those who came after, and a new reference for the Shanghai audience. Different people at different times pay different attention to the same image, which is also a physical and psychological space.
Boundaries can have many definitions. Shapes form boundaries. The perimeter of the painting is also the boundary of the image. The artist’s perception also determines the boundaries of his art. To some extent, limitations and defects are also the reasons for the style. Style also tends to create a kind of painted boundary, so the artist has to recognize where his boundary is and the work he does is to expand it as much as possible.
Seeing is a very personal act, different people focus on the same image in different ways. When I select and work with images, I intentionally avoid images that are very directional, so as to give the audience more interpretation channels. The viewer and I interpret the same work from different angles, I present it step by step from the inside out, while the viewer is exploring from the outside to the inside. There are intersections between the two, and there are also many different interpretations. The more channels left to the audience, the richer and fuller the work can be interpreted. The names of my works are given by the gallery staff, when I send them the finished work, they describe what they see in a concise and intuitive colloquial way, which forms the name of a painting. I was trying to provide a shallow passage from a third party’s perspective. Of course, information asymmetry also often occurs. For example, I painted several basins and regarded them as several bowls. Then this is defined as several bowls. From my point of view, the three paintings in this exhibition are connected.In terms of color form and psychological level, they are also complementary to each other.
I have a habit of taking pictures whenever I am out, as long as conditions permit, without too much purpose. A group of people, some plants, a corner, many of these will become the material for my work. When I want to start a new paint, I put these pictures on the computer to the largest size, and then look for a composition that attracts me the most.It may be a very small part, or it may be a negative space formed between objects. I think as long as you pay attention to observation, there are many unintended moments in life will have unexpected surprises. There is a sense of strangeness when the images I choose are out of their original context. The source of the image has to be what I took, I was present when I captured the object with my lens. With this connection, I am better able to have a dialogue with the image in my following work and am able to step inside. Of course I have tried to use web images or other people’s photos, but I feel distant from the images and it is difficult to communicate deeply. If I were to put my creative process into a graphic representation, it would look a lot like an hourglass. The image is at the top edge. Once I transfer the image to the canvas in a relatively realistic way, I start to have a dialogue with the image, following the shape and color of the image itself and start to grind it together. The shape in nature itself has its own stable structure, and I don’t want to change it violently and abruptly. In this process, just like the hourglass slowly narrowing from top to bottom, more and more things are removed from the image, and more and more subjective color divisions are made. When the hourglass reaches the narrowest part, which is the bottleneck of my creation, is also the most painful time. Usually I will think of various ways to break through, smearing back and forth with paint, trying various styles of shapes until I find an ideal solution, this process will intentionally or unintentionally leave some fragment-like traces on the picture. The top half of the hourglass is the physical sphere of the image itself, then the bottom half belongs to my psychological world. The shape and color are my own personal expression, I can keep painting in my own world, until the deadline of the exhibition meets and paintings have to left the studio. In the case of the large painting in this exhibition, the image is a photo of a plant I took at random. When I want to paint, I found this image particularly challenging, it had little of the spatial relationship of positive and negative shape that I had previously focused on. The focus of the composition was clearly shifted, my initial idea was to stick the plant vertically in the ground, so the image had mark of computer retouching, all of which formed elements of the image. The next step was to transfer the image to the canvas in a relatively realistic way and start the hourglass style work.