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Struggling to Sail in the Boundless Ocean of Art (Excerpt)


Struggling to Sail

in the Boundless Ocean of Art

Analysis of Liu Dungui’s Painting Realm

Sha Bihong

His painting is just like his person, having simplicity full of romantic poetry and authenticity permeated with unique feelings that go beyond reality. Therefore, his painting is profound but not without lightness, transformed but not obscure, peculiar but not weird, concise but not shallow.

He once said that art is his favorite.

In recent years, Liu Dungui has traveled across his motherland, leaving deep footprints in forests, mines and plains.

He embraces nature and life with his heart filled with sincere affection, while the life endows his painting brushes with inexhaustible vitality and his brain with inspiration of wisdom. His traditional Chinese painting The Fisher Girl (also called The Weaver Girl), character portrait I Love the Sea have both been created through experiencing the lives in Dayu Island of Shandong. In The Weaver Girl, starting with details, the painter not only presents the artistic conception at the seaside, but also portrays the concentrated eyes and the flexible and resilient hands of the weaver girl in a nuanced way. From works like Dedicated Loyalty, Enjoying, Spring Melancholy and Spring Hope, it is not difficult to see the painter’s life experience and his true affection for life. Lunar January in Xiaotun has a strong local flavor. A Canadian art theorist was once dying for this painting, saying that solid painting skills, thick modern atmosphere and distinct national characteristics can be seen in it.

When different trends of thought prevail in the art circle, besides exploring new ideas and new techniques, Liu Dungui also insists on discovering beautiful things with characteristics of times and expressing them with traditional and exquisite techniques.

Most people learning traditional Chinese painting have experienced quite a long period of inheriting traditional techniques. Also, Liu Dungui once found himself deep into the research on traditional skills. He studied hard the brush stroke techniques of some masters like Bada Shanren (Zhu Da, a famous painter of the Ming Dynasty), Ren Bonian and Shi Tao. Therefore, his previous works like The Weaver Girl, Enjoying and Dedicated Loyalty have an exquisite brushwork, which shows his solid skills. However, a serious artist should not always imitate others, let alone always imitate himself. After a difficult exploration, he finally got rid of the state of lingering between tradition and innovation and found his way of creation, namely, to find out the focus of one’s own, one’s inner world and the times as well as to make great efforts to express life instead of reproducing life.

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