Gallery: Axel Vervoordt Gallery
Opening / Event Date: 15 Nov, 2017
Closing / End Date: 17 Mar, 2018
Yan Gallery is pleased to announce its next exhibition, entitled ‘Harbour Life’, which consists of a collection of 12 oil paintings and 21 watercolour paintings, by Beijing based artist Chun Yan.
Chun Yan’s oil paintings are divided into two groups – scenes of European harbours and scenes of the Chinese harbour of Qingdao. Whilst travelling in Europe over the past ten years Chun Yan found harbour scenes an inexhaustible source of creation.
Boats, cruise ships, piers and the deep blue sea are painted with a delightful naivety and joyful innocence. There is something carefree and spontaneous about her works that bring to mind indulgent summer holidays spent under the Mediterranean sun. She particularly effectively captures the tones and variations of the sea – from the turquoise shallows of a small bay to the deep azure of the open water. The sea seems effervescent and sparkling with life and looking at her works is a pleasurable, uplifting experience. Her images of Qingdao, painted more recently, are more subdued in colour. The Yellow Sea is more opaque with tones of grey, green and brown. Whereas the theme of entertainment and leisure was highlighted in the pleasure cruises of the Mediterranean, now commerce and industry is emphasized by the container ships depicted on the horizon. Her scenes of Qingdao are attractive in a different way. In these works, the light is more enigmatic, the mood more tranquil, yet the famous red rooves of Qingdao are distinctive and contrast elegantly with the sea green water of the bay and give the viewer the feeling of seeing something familiar and heartwarming.
Chun Yan’s watercolour paintings touch on a range of subject matters – complex notions of birth, life, death, illusion and reality. Some works, however, are purely a celebration of artists she admires; she mimics the works of well-known artists such as Botero or Velazquez. She has done a delightful series of ‘Infanta’ portraits, however, by leaving the faces of the portraits blank she gives her works an air of mystery and ambiguity. The theme of time also plays an important role in her works with the scatterings of bones and bird skulls reminding us that however hard we try to outwit time, death comes to us all in the end.
Chun Yan previously taught at Henan University between 2003 and 2015, but now works at a full-time artist in Beijing. This is her first exhibition in Hong Kong.
The artist will be present at the opening and a catalogue of the works has been published.