Ezhou, China, 1982 . Lives and works in Beijing, China
Light Nº.2, 2016
Mixed media on canvas
78.7 x 118.1 in
In Li Zhou’s paintings, sculptures, installations and public works, elements of Western painting are mixed together with representational modes that for centuries have characterized China, where she was born and currently resides. Li is inspired primarily by the natural world, and especially by the landscape of her homeland, in order to produce a highly varied body of work that ranges from the playful, cartoon-like representation of animals to purely abstract pieces like Light No. 2. Nonetheless, all these pieces share the artist’s own style, permeated by her light brushstrokes and the presence of materials like ink and charcoal.
Li Zhou’s work is inevitably interpreted in relation to traditional Chinese painting, which from the time of the Tang and Song dynasties has shown a tendency toward abstraction and the technical execution of which must be nearly perfect. This level of discipline is a consequence of the effort involved in learning to correctly produce Chinese ideograms, traced with paintbrushes and ink as though they are paintings. In both expressions there prevail the effects of shading and gradations, in addition to the light strokes that indicate the swiftness with which they were made, just like in Light No. 2. The smooth gradation of ink in this piece creates a sensation of rhythm, while the elements that are stuck to the canvas are also crucial for incorporating even more movement into the composition.