Liu Ye "Bamboo Bamboo Broadway"

Sperone Westwater

poster for Liu Ye "Bamboo Bamboo Broadway"

This event has ended.

Sperone Westwater presents Bamboo Bamboo Broadway, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Liu Ye. For his third solo show at the gallery, the artist continues to engage the history of modernism, while referencing the tradition of abstraction in historical Chinese painting. Here, Liu Ye introduces new genres such as landscape and still-life painting to his oeuvre. The centerpiece of the show is a nine-part painting of abstracted and simplified details of a bamboo plant which spans the gallery's double-height wall.

Bamboo Bamboo Broadway (2012), also the title of the exhibition, is the artist's largest work to date. Painted in New York, this nine-part work measures 6 x 9 meters. Liu Ye utilizes a familiar trope in Chinese painting -- bamboo imagery in a landscape format -- but employs a modernistic approach to the composition. Each canvas hangs abutted in a grid, reminiscent of Bauhaus architecture in its modularity. The composition also evokes the internal logic of a Mondrian painting; a pictorial effect the artist identifies as "balanced, graceful, pure, and projecting a sense of serenity." The repetition of similar forms and tones offers the pictorial equivalent of a fugue. Critic, art historian, and artist Robert C. Morgan has said "Liu’s paintings internalize large ideas within small spaces, thereby reinvigorating a new possibility for intimacy in art within the transcultural excess of the present."

The exhibition also includes a group of small paintings; a scale that has become signature for the artist. These works convey a rational, contemplative, and sometimes solemn tone. Small Painter (2009-2010) depicts a girl with a pensive demeanor seated at a desk drawing the Miffy character, the small female rabbit created by Dutch artist Dick Bruna in the 1950s. In a nod to Balthus’ frequent theme and style, Banned Book 3 (2010) shows a young woman positioned in mid-crawl, enraptured by a book. Birds (2011), shows two sparrows mating against a dark, monochromatic ground, suggestive of a 17th century Spanish still-life painting. Pinocchio (2011) is a geometrically-rendered portrait of the character in the children's novel. The artist's inscription on the back of this painting reads: "Nearly 40 years ago, I read a book on Pinocchio. Today I painted a portrait of Pinocchio -- I hope after 40 years I will paint another one."



from September 06, 2012 to October 27, 2012

Opening Reception on 2012-09-06 from 18:00 to 20:00


Liu Ye

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