Culture Mar 30 – May 20
Guo Renhai, Yan Yuanyang, and Wang Xuan are well-known artists in Yunnan who represent an emerging style from the seventies and beyond. In my opinion, the reason for the three of them collaborating on this show is not only the fact that they are professors of oil painting at the Fine Arts Academy of Yuxi Normal University, but because their works represent a certain trend; individualistic paradigm and value orientation common for Yunnan emerging artists expressed in their own artistic language. While writing this foreword, I am unaware of the name of the exhibition, and yet a momentary feeling relying on persisting aspiration drives me.
Individually, Guo Renhai, Yan Yuanyang, and Wang Xuan have their own special characteristic universality and representativeness of which can be discussed in the context of language and themes of Yunnan in the seventies and eighties. First of all, they all became established artists in recent decades, participated in various exhibitions including the National Art Exhibition, and took part in many academic activities. All of which made them widely recognized in the Yunnan art scene. From their poetic expression, they give people a possibility to escape reality and direct them towards pure perception, without branching into abstractionism. I have always respected and felt curious about the possibilities of their unique narratives. Considering their background and temperament, a Yunnan local and two outsiders, one coming from the rough North and the other from subtle Sichuan, all facing the frontiers of new times, were able to find an absolute congeniality. They demonstrate a kind of blended, sharp and curious brushwork giving a glimpse of their roots; realistic and innovative character with an ability to find fast solutions, an unrestful and impatient spirit, a dominant individualism and more importantly, briskness and vitality. Guo Renhai, Yan Yuanyang and Wang Xuan's paintings give us a portrait of life, encompassing the spirit and the metaphysical aspects of culture.
When the IWE Art Museum asked me to write this foreword for the exhibition, I told them that I was neither a critic nor the leader of the art association. What could I do? They said that I am the chairman of the Yunnan Oil Painting Society, and all three artists are members. Of course! From this perspective, I can’t refuse. But it is precisely because we are involved that we have today's topic and a vital purpose. The Yunnan Oil Painting Society has always wanted to systematically discuss the oil paintings of various stages in Yunnan history, brush up and do exhibitions on representative artists and their works. Due to financial problems, this work has been carried out intermittently for many years. We offer flowers to the Buddha, and use these three artists’ exhibition as a new opportunity to cooperate with the IWE Art Museum; in an attempt to present historical, comprehensive and continuous development of oil painting in Yunnan in recent decades, and stimulate the discussion about cultural and ideological issues in creativity. Therefore, I hope that the IWE Art Museum can arrange projects annually, and continue to help in the promotion of the history and future of Yunnan art.
I wish the exhibition a success!
Tang Zhigang March 13, 2019