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【评论】Singularly Splendid-After viewing Liping Zheng’s new Flower-and-Birds paintings, the word “Splendid” should again be noted.(From Art Observation June 2020)

2020-07-24 11:15:50 来源:艺术家提供作者:

  Among the modern Chinese flower-and-bird painting artists, Liping Zheng and his works have consistently been highly recognized. He creates his unique style without following fashion,  and is never obsessed by his creative abilities and fame. He studies historic masters but does not repeat their stylistic footsteps. Instead, he focuses on absorbing inspiration from mother nature coupled with his own perceptions and impressions of the world around him. His use of ink and brush is bold and fluent with rich, strong and elegant color. I would like to note that he emphasizes personal perception and impression while pursuing the quality of brush and ink under the traditional methodology. He has achieved a traditional literati flower-and-bird painting style with his own unique magnificent expression and boundless passion.

  Flower-and-bird painting is a special category in traditional Chinese painting. In art history, character and landscape painting became independent subjects earlier than flower-and-bird painting. From important historic paintings and records, we know that flower-and-bird painting did not become an independent category until the flourishing Tang dynasty. It is only until the Five Dynasty of late Tang, that flower-and-bird painting matured with artists such as Huang Quan, Xu Xi who specialized in follower-and-bird paintings in both luxuriant and simple but elegant schools. Compared to traditional character painting, which mainly focuses on humanistic and cultural doctrines, as well as landscapes focused on artists' spiritual pursuance, flower-and-bird painting emphasizes the pursuit of the essence of beauty with diversification. Progressing through Son, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, it has reached the point where its only focus is "beauty" with its branches of figuration, sense-writing, luxuriant color and pure ink, etc.

  Follower-and-bird painting is popular because a love of nature is intrinsically embedded in its art works.  Through sketched flowers, birds, trees and stones, artists provide viewers a lyrical experience with beauty.  It is because of this uniqueness that Chinese flower-and-bird painting was not assimilated by western painting when China opened to the world in the 20th century. Instead, it experienced a significant development in its own way. During this time, there emerged not only the great masters, Wu Changshuo, Qi Baishi and Huang Binhong, but also renown successors such as Pan Tianshou, Chen Zhifo, Li Kuchan, Wang Xuetao, etc. Among the three categories, flower-and-bird painting maintains its natural and vivid attributes in observing and expressing mother nature with its special cultural content, its freedom of esthetics in sense-writing. Its stroke, its calligraphy line with its abstractive inner beauty flies under the universe of both traditional culture and contemporary personality. This reserves ample space for the development of modern flower-and-bird painting, which is the essence of the vitality of traditional Chinese culture.

  The flower-and-bird painting of Mr. Liping is so impressive and touching. His works are full of natural life strength. Something very special and important to note is that there is a real revealing of the artist's life with his unique vision and passion through his bold while controllable expression of brush, composition, color and ink.  I believe that, within a certain domain of culture, "doing whatever you like from your heart" is critical in art creation. As we know, traditional Chinese painting is unique with its beauty of sense-writing in the comprehensive realm of poem, calligraphy, and painting. Flower-and-bird painting is based on mother nature, reflecting the vivid flower, the bird, the fish, and even the insect of the real world through the feeling of the artist. This is different than regular sketching in which the camera-like-standard is just to present skills and create visual effects. Even those super-realism art works in museums around the world can only show you how skillful they are, but they have nothing to do with art. As a sharp contrast, accomplished traditional Chinese flower-and-bird painting artists always pursue painting creation as a poetic process, which is an expression of the artist's emotion, or a chapter of brush and ink game. The famous Yuan Dynasty artist Ni Yunlin said that painting was just his "self- entertainment." This is the accomplishment and mentality that a good traditional Chinese painting artist needs, particularly a flower-and-bird painting artist. While character and landscape Chinese painting are submerged under the western realism in modern art history, flower-and-bird painting is still full of vitality with its traditional focus on culture. Modern Chinese flower-and-bird painting is encountering reality regarding how to adapt to the rapid development of society. Since the early 20th century, we have moved away from the farming age, marching into industrialization, post industrialization, and the information eras.  Social culture and its structure have changed significantly. The traditional cultural accomplishment of most modern artists can't be compared with the great masters Wu Changshuo, Qi Baishi and Huang Binhong. Even if taking as benchmark those accomplished artists born in the 20th century, such as Wang Xuetao, Li Kuchan, they are still simply in different categories. Collectors and those who appreciate fine art are expanding from the social elites into the masses.  This reality ends with a time that is without a masterwho would otherwise illuminate our present epoch. This is also why flower-and-bird painting has not had an upsurge for many decades. Flower-and-bird painting needs to have a breakthrough.

  I am always excited whenever I view Liping's flower-and-bird painting. His innovative exploration challenges traditional pattens while emphasizing the traditional methodology of the quality of brush and ink. He learns from mother nature, pursues the essence of sense-writing, always navigating with great courage to achieve a contemporary subjective sense of beauty.  Liping's works are so moving with his bold and unonstrained , powerful and free expression. His heavy ink and heavy color echoes andenhances each other harmoniously. His heavy color is strong, radiant, and elegant. Liping grew up in the east-coastal area of Guangdong and currently resides in the Philippines, both of which are colorful and romantic kingdoms with sunny weather and blossoms throughout the year. This explains why color is always the main rhythm in Liping's painting.

  I am deeply impressed by Liping's extraordinary talent and brilliant perception. I always feel that his sensitivity to any beauty around us   is a vivid echo to mother nature. With this extraordinary character, he has successfully freed himself of historic "format" constraints which result in a completely fresh experience of beauty. One point to emphasize here is that we need to have an unhindered perception to understand and appreciate Liping's explorations and remarkable achievements. Of course, for any artist, each art work is an exploration and experiment, which is an accumulation of experience. In the exploration of the art journey, his success is enormous and highly meaningful. This is the reason why we unceasingly have great pleasure and appreciation from his brilliant art works.

(Sun Ke: one of the most famous art critics in China, the former deputy chairman and secretary general of the Chinese Painting Institute, the former Secretary General of Chinese Painting Committee of the China Artist Association)