Tuesday, April 12, 2011

East West

David Leffel, Andy Chan, Zhi Wei Tu

Mary Qian and Bo Zhang
had been bouncing around
the idea of having
an exhibition of local Chinese artists

Miguel Malagon

When Miguel Malagon
suggested the 40,000 square feet
that Murphy-Hill Gallery
has over in the
former Sears-Roebuck corporate headquarters
near Homan and Roosevelt

Mary Qian

Bo knew a group of artists who,
like him,
had studied and taught in China,
and ended up the Mid-west.

Calling themselves
the Oil Painting Society of Chinese American,
they have 15 members
most of whom teach art
in universities and community colleges
in Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin etc.

Mary Qian

While Andy Chan is at the center
of a group of traditional Chinese artists
the Chinese Artists’ Association of North America.

Bo Zhang

So the idea was
to combine those two groups,
plus some of the non-Chinese artists
whom Mary had gotten to know
in Chicage, especially from the Palette and Chisel

Bo Zhang

And finally this huge show,
came together
as the last art show
Murphy Hill Gallery
will have before their space
is taken for commercial development.

Andy Chan

Andy Chan

Andy Conklin

Helen Oh

Zhi Wei Tu

Zhi Wei Tu

Zhi Wei Tu

Clayton Beck III

Above are the members
of the Peoples Republic
of Dearborn Avenue
who participated.

Some other participants
are shown as follows:

Sherrie McGraw

Here are the non-Chinese
artists whom Mary picked
to represent
both Impressionist
and Academic styles

Sherrie McGraw

Matthew Almy
(of the Ravenswood Academy,
where many of our models also work)

Magdalena Almy

Magdalena Almy

David Leffel
(who comes to the P&C
from New York
one week a year
to teach a workshop)

David Leffel


Konstantin Maksimov (1913-1993)

One of the highlites
of the opening
was the arrival
of Moissei Liangleleben.

Konstantin Maksimov

Incredibly enough,
Moissei had once studied
with Konstantin Maksimov
who is to Impressionism in China
what St. Patrick is to Christianity in Ireland.

Konstantin Maksimov

Back in the 1950's,
the Soviet Union sent
Maksimov to teach a social-realist style
to an elite group of students in Beijing,
and many of the artists in this exhibit
were students of those students.

Konstantin Maksimov

Like all Soviet painters,
Maksimov's work is completely unknown
in this country.
(and unfortunately none of the above pieces
were included in this show!)

Li Hu

Li Hu
is a Professor of Art
in Oshkosh, Wisconsin,
and is President
of a group of oil painters
who were trained in that tradition.

Above is the kind of painting
that defines social realism

Li Hu

While here's one
that seems to define
contemporary art.
(i.e. -- I have no idea what's happening,
but it seems to be bad)

Li Hu

His quick studies are my favorite

Li Hu

Li Hu

Li Hu

Yan Shi Zhong

Here's another one of my favorites


Yan Shi Zhong

Victor Wang

Victor Wang seems to have adapted
to the contemporary artworld
better than many of the others.

Here's his website.

Victor Wang

Yingxue Zuo

Here's another one of my favorites.

Yingxue Zuo

Mary says that he's into German Expressionism.


Richard Lee

I wish he was showing more drawings like this one.

Dajiang Hu

I don't know where
this was painted,
but it feels like Wisconsin

Feng Xie

Feels a bit like Rembrandt,
but then
Rembrant's landscape drawings
feel a bit Chinese.

Li Lin Lee

I'm not sure
how this artist got included,
since he's not a member
of any of the three groups involved
and Mary's emphasis
was on realism in this exhibit.

But I'm glad he was
(and he does show his work
in a local gallery (Walsh )
that specializes in contemporary Asian)

Ruby Wang

There weren't very many
traditional ink or watercolor paintings
in this show.

This was one of my favorites.

Here's her web site.

Jialing Li

Chur Jialing Liu

Felicia King

Annie Liu

Left to right:

Yingxue Zuo, Zhiwei Tu, Mary Qian, Yan Shi Zhong, Annie Liu


This is the kind of show
that I wish
the Palette and Chisel
would begin to sponsor.

I.e. -- based on somebody's idea
of what ought to be seen,
rather than on whoever is a member.

(Especially since recently,
membership has been open
to everyone regardless of ability
to do anything other than pay the dues)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Define "ability to do anything other than pay dues", please.

April 15, 2011  
Blogger chris miller said...

Just as in the world of contemporary art -- "anything" means..... anything.

Ability is no longer an issue at the Palette and Chisel - as it was a hundred years ago when the club's 20th anniversary show was hung at the Art Institute of Chicago.

BTW -- I happen to think it's a good idea to let anyone join - and even let everyone have an exhibit every once in a while.

But good figurative art definitely needs a place to be shown in Chicago -- whether the artists happen to be P&C members or not.

And until it's changed, the purpose of our organization is still to promote something called *art*, not just ourselves.

April 15, 2011  
Blogger carole said...

It's not a hundered years ago however and it never will be again. In 2011, the public's tax dollars are keeping the place open and its mission is to *promote* traditional art. Having a few self-promoters most certainly does not justify that expense; neither does simply giving a few people a place where the public may come see their work (or unfortunately, continue to be disinterested in seeing it, more to the point). Promoting traditional art by simply providing cheap/free gallery space is not promoting *art* in a useful or meaningful way. Nor is simply providing a place for people to paint so as to not have to clear a space in their own homes. Having available space does not equal serving art. Sadly, and to the P&C's detriment, that's what seems to go on too often. It's like a pretentious, members-only golf club where many members would be happier to be the only person allowed there. Of course there are exceptions, but enough of them? Is it s CLUB, or a BUILDING?

Much, much less focus on giving a legup to established oldsters is needed (stunning though their work might be), and much more focus on making people involved and interested in CARING about P&C's style of art, which is, make no mistake, a dying craft that is tragically considered pointless, outmoded. Worse, (and this is VITAL to understand) it's become something that is reserved for, hidden away for, and ONLY for, old retirees, Gold Coast pretentious rich snobs, and other "upper crust" that sneer at those who would have been interested in Palette & Chisel but get not-so-subtly snubbed and turned away.P&C needs to be falling over itself to welcome all the new blood it can get. It used to be a CLUB with people who encouraged and taught each other, not just a few pretentious, self-congratulatory elitists who pat each other's backs while glaring at anyone wanting to grow and who they think threaten their precious stagnation. The types John Singer Sargent had no tolerence for ;)

April 15, 2011  
Blogger chris miller said...

A fine diatribe, Carole, but berating artists for being self-centered is a non-starter.

What's important is to create examples to the contrary, of which this East-West show is a fine example.

Without the Palette and Chisel, Mary, Bo, Zhiwei, and Miguel would not likely have known each other well enough to make it happen.

April 16, 2011  
Blogger carole said...

I think we are on the same page, really. I love the idea of this show simply because rather than being come Asian-as-fetish, it really does seem to be East *meeting* West. You say these folks would not have met were it not for the P&C...how can the place help enable more of that? I loved reading about how the club used to do things like take train trips together to paint. Is there even so much as a social these days? I suppose the New Year's Day event is sort of like that (and look how popular that is), and of course there are show openings. But I really feel like more focus on community is vital.

April 18, 2011  
Blogger Molly said...

Love the Bo Zhang paintings - so much paint! Also love Victor Wang. I saw his work at the 2010 Art Chicago Faire and was instantly taken. What he does with pain to me verges on miraculous. How can something so dense and chaotic look so real?

May 11, 2011  

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