Heartease - Peace and Tranquility
Source:Artintern Author:Liu Mingming Date: 2014-02-24 Size:
In Chen Xiaorong’s landscape paintings, we see his aesthetic cultivation going up day by day; we see his technique refined in water color and good attitude relaxed in making paintings...

Glimpses of Old Courtyards No.8 2010Watercolor 52×1925px

I used to watch Chen Xiaorong’s works, most which were still life paintings, in which cabbage, radish and various fruits give off a soft luster, silent and real. At this exhibition, however, he presents his landscape paintings that show off a strong passion and high spirit. Water color is a time-honored internationalized form of painting that covers both occidental and oriental painting styles. Due to its long history, it possesses its own traditional painting language; due to its nimbleness and agileness, it enjoys great popularity; due to its broadness, it has more spaces to express. Therefore, water color is an elegant form of art that the public is fond of. Under the current trend of rapid development, surging tide and many changes in painting, few artists can persist in his or her own way to art, to express his or her real psychological appeal while working on his paintings with ease, but Chen Xiaorong is such an artist on water color, cool and calm.

In his water color series entitled Glimpses of Old Courtyards, the old towns and courtyards by the bank of the Yangtze River are depicted. The beams and eaves of the traditional buildings are variant, walls and bricks are attractive. In his work No. 1, the structure of the building is accurately documented through the depiction of the details of every beam and every eave, and the different forms of window lattice reveal the traces of life in different periods of time – the light bluish grey conveying faint homesickness; in work No. 3 there is only one old wall standing at a time that bears witness to many things that are still there but where men are no longer the same – every brick and tile of the wall depicted is obstinate and strong; in work No. 9 the uniquely-decorated doors and windows record the house owner’s pursuit of the special architectural style at that time – still in vogue albeit of several decades.

Glimpses of Old Courtyards No.6 2010Watercolor 52×1925px

In his second series of paintings of the rural landscapes in Sichuan and Jiangxi, where the Hui style architecture with black tiles and white walls and the houses of brown wood and lime in typical Sichuan style are mottled with green plants under the artist’s brushes – both showing the antiquity of the village and injecting freshness and vitality in the picture, and that the lightsome, loose tone in painting the plants is full of interest. In the last series of landscape paintings about the Longmen Mountains, however, he made such an abrupt turn in his interest that resulted a picture wet in dripping water, shrouded in cloud and mist, and open and clear suddenly. From the date left on the picture, those are his works made in the last two or three years. Chen Xiaorong, in his works, attempted to convey his unadorned fond love for the mountains, rivers, woods, and houses in his home village as well as his sentimental attachment to the age-old civilization that is about to disappear. These truly realistic works are impressive to the viewers, so they are not only pieces of artworks but also are valuable in documenting the history. To make such landscape paintings, it calls for emotional input from the artist, a patient and diligent attitude and also skillful techniques in water color expression. Chen Xiaorong’s paintings are realistic but the techniques to express them are so varied that shows his strength and skill in learning from tradition and his achievements in continuous exploration.

Chen Xiaorong graduated from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1997 when I was the dean of his department. But I had little impression of him as I didn’t give lessons to him directly. Later on, when I saw his water color works in Chongqing and at national exhibitions, I just recalled that I had such a diligent, progressive student. When he was at school, we hadn’t begun courses on water color, but only gave water color lessons in basic color training for a short period of time in the first grade, in which some fundamentals in water color were taught and very basic technique exercises were done; many students gave up their study of water color after they began professional training in the senior grade. Chen Xiaorong, however, in his pursuit of ideal, continued to make his water color paintings. Today, what unveils before us is a university teacher of fine arts, who has never been absent from the water color exhibitions in Chongqing and who has won the most number of prizes and awards, and also one of the artists in Chongqing who are very active at national water color exhibitions.

In Chen Xiaorong’s landscape paintings, we see his aesthetic cultivation going up day by day; we see his technique refined in water color and good attitude relaxed in making paintings. As he desired, he acts according to his temperament and makes paintings with much ease. What a realm it is! For it’s easy to begin water color painting but hard to become proficient in it. It takes courage and perseverance to go on this road, and it also requires the artist to have a good attitude to take things in peace and tranquility. We are delighted at the joy that his new works have brought to us, and we expect to see the birth of his next series of works.

[Editor] 孙雯