• The Catcher of Shadows

    Date posted: February 21, 2011 Author: jolanta
    There is much about shadows in both Chinese and Western painting history. Western art started with artists drawing shadows of themselves. In ancient China, there were cave paintings of Buddha. They emphasized shadows more than bodies. It all had a connection to nature and the spirit. Back in time, our ancestors enjoyed traveling through mountains and waters, and also painting. They paid such strong attention to shadows than to bodies. They tried to understand the relationship between waters and mountains. Nowadays we travel between real mountains and fake ones. Where can we rest physically and spiritually with our exhausted bodies?

    Yu Xu-Hong

    Yu Xu-Hong, Shadows No. 1, 2007. Oil over photo on canvas, 174 x 148 cm. Courtesy of Gallery 55.

    There is much about shadows in both Chinese and Western painting history. Western art started with artists drawing shadows of themselves. In ancient China, there were cave paintings of Buddha. They emphasized shadows more than bodies. It all had a connection to nature and the spirit. Back in time, our ancestors enjoyed traveling through mountains and waters, and also painting. They paid such strong attention to shadows than to bodies. They tried to understand the relationship between waters and mountains. Nowadays we travel between real mountains and fake ones. Where can we rest physically and spiritually with our exhausted bodies?

    Busy working, we could only cherish our minds through appreciation of grass, trees, waters, and mountains, as we search for poetry in our observation of certain places.

    Capturing shadows by observing light and shadow day and night, then I try to capture the meaning through painting on the canvas.

    I try to capture shadows by portraying my feelings. Sometimes I paint casually; sometimes joy would show all over my face. Perhaps there are too many people living together, like worms, lost among shadows. How can we get back the “soul” of art, which we lost in this machine-copying era? With the help of technical reproduction and manual drawing, I try to find balance, harmony, purity, and coherence among the worm-like crowds, purifying the soul just like in Zen Buddhism. The depth and layer of the canvas change according to the distance while people observe. It looks more peaceful from a distance. People get stimulated while staring at those worm-like moving figures. Observers tend to get anxious. Shadows pacify the ambiguous relationship between the visual and the mental. Through overlapping and taking out images, I chase after shadow and observe its outpouring state in the universe. In order to make the invisible become visible, I bring out the aura of shadow, and the not-on-the-scene becomes on-the-scene.

    Comments are closed.