Contemporary Chinese artist exhibits at Kortman

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11140121848541.jpg’, ”, ‘"Zong Zi" by Zhao Yanli’);

The works of contemporary Beijing artist Zhao Yanli, also known as “Color,” will be exhibited at the Kortman Gallery starting Friday, April 22. The exhibition, “A Salute to Symbolism,” features works that combine woodblock printing, calligraphy, and silkscreen in modern composition.

Color’s bold, artistic political satire expresses the contradictory nature of Chinese culture and the Cultural Revolution. She is part of an emerging art movement in China that reflects a new freedom of expression that sharply contrasts the artistic suppression that prevailed under the regime of Mao Zedong (1966-1976).

“My inspiration for these works comes from China’s ‘most revered hero,’ Mao Zedong, and the unforgettable Red Guards of the Cultural Revolution,” Color said. “The Cultural Revolution, also known as the Ten Years of Chaos, was a struggle between Mao Zedong and other top party leaders for dominance of the Communist Party, which affected all of China with its call for ‘continuing revolution.’ Most of the Red Guards in my work reflect their innocence, fanaticism, self-sacrifice, boldness and fearless spirit in carrying out China’s revolution. I like to use bright colors to commemorate these people who represent China’s lively spirit.”

Gallery director Doc Slafkosky said: “The art world in China today is bursting with energy. Contemporary artists are exploring new artistic territories like never before, and their work is finding its way to Western collectors who are getting in on the ground floor of this new movement.”

The opening receptions for the “Salute to Symbolism” exhibition are from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday, April 22, and 3 to 9 p.m., Saturday, April 23, in conjunction with the Spring ArtScene gallery walk. More info: 968-0123 or visit Admission is free.

Slafkosky added: “We were fortunate enough to meet Color on several trips to Beijing in the past couple of years. Her work is stylistically reminiscent of the propaganda posters of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, but the content is coming from a brand-new mindset—almost shocking when you think how quickly things are changing in this emerging nation.”

From the April 20-26, 2005, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!