BAI YE & SHI HENGBO: VARIATION IN TEMPERATURES
Apr. 22 - July 10, 2011

Bai and Shi are both young promising contemporary oil painting artists.  Their practice signals an alternate direction from Western art form by utilizing Eastern features to provide a new perspective of understanding Chinese people, Chinese society, and the Chinese people’s long cultural history.

Bai Ye takes as his subject the everyday secular life. In the hands of Bai, color is formed into mysterious code, symbol, or totem, in which we may read hints of religion, immortality, the realms of the living, the precincts of the dead, and the state of the reborn; but, with uncertainty.  With a detachment from the real world, Bai describes himself “Merely standing by the door, I observe those who enter and exit, I don’t belong to the inside, neither the outside.”

Shi Hengbo’s paintings operate like filtered pictures, giving us a pure view of his super realistic dream land of the Arctic.  The squatting stone lion is used as a metaphor of China.  It is most commonly seen in the Tang Dynasty regarded as the guardian of the royal family, symbolizing imperial power and dignity.  In Shi’s artwork, the landscape is serene and minimal, while the stone lion is vivid, full of life, and depicted in a hot pink color.  Amid this mise-en-scene of tranquility and pop, a wary humanism emerges to reveal a complex present full of hope, doubt, and mixed blessings for the future. 

 

About the exhibition title:

Bai Ye’s artwork, The Words of Ten Palaces, is inspired by the classical renditions that depict the chaos and decadence of palace life in the Qing Dynasty. With the examples such as the Forbidden Palace and the White House, the artist is able to reflect how the lives in the imperial palaces affect its governing society, and to raise concerns over the commotion caused by the overheated political, economic and social tension. In Shi Hengbo’s artwork, On Guard, he jarringly depicts the image of a majestic Chinese Guardian Stone Lion standing in solitude on top of an iceberg in the Arctic. Shi’s work is a message that challenges the Chinese traditions and culture, as well as a reminder to properly embrace the merging of locality and globalization. In comparison to the heated discussion observed from Bai’s work, Shi’s pieces exemplify an extreme cold stoicism. The exhibition, Variation in Temperatures, brings you the work of two visual artists, two polarized perspectives, and one similar dialogue.