East meets West in eyecatching Art Beat show

posted in: EXHIBITIONS | 0

He’s the last on the list of the alphabetical painters represented at Art Beat Gallery, and one of the newest to grace its walls. GuoQuan Zheng was born in Shanghai but seems to have come from a long line of Old Masters to bring his European-influenced works with a soul from the Far East all the way to St. Albert. What local gallery goers will get is the best of all worlds.

“He told me that when he took art lessons, everything was about realism,” offered Brigitte Barrantes, gallery owner. “He could make a realistic painting in a perfect way but once you live the lessons, he has to find his own style, he has to find his own colours and his own flavours.”

The flavours that he has found are pastel pink and blue candy floss sunset skies, fiery forests in the fall and pristine azure blue waters of some ridiculously beautiful lakes, rivers and other waterways.

Those other waterways include some canals, complete with gondolas. Yes indeed, there are a lot of European Romantic images side by side with some unmistakable Albertan picturesque landscape scenes. All are dreamlike in a way, and can easily lead to flights of fancy.

“He loves Impressionism which is what he follows. He loves his pink skies, greens and turquoise … anything but Realism.”

He knows his way around shadows and textures, bringing some great depth to river bends and forest groves. He is also adept at composing tricky street scenes, capturing just the right amount of shadows and reflected light in what is otherwise a pathway immersed in murky darkness. It’s not a small skill, something he has certainly continued to develop over decades of dedication to his craft.

After his formal education ended, he taught fine arts and graphic design at Shanghai’s China Textile University. Now, he’s teaching us how he sees the world.

“It’s not something we see a lot of here especially in this gallery. It was the point to bring somebody different and to appreciate a different style of painting. They’re exquisite like Matisse. You do see a lot of the Eastern influence. They could be really simple landscapes but when he puts it on canvas, there’s a real richness and depth to it. You can see it. There’s a lot of Romanticism in his paintings.”

“Obviously this is not what he sees but he interprets it completely different. His point isn’t to copy. It’s to find what he loves in his own style, which he believes is the purpose of any artist.”

See the original article from the St. Albert Gazette here by Scott Hayes.

Leave a Reply