Born in Jiangsu in 1968, internationally acclaimed Chinese painter Yizhou graduated from the Huaiyin Normal Academy in 1990 with a Major in Fine Arts and continued on to receive a postgraduate with specialization in oil painting from the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts in 2002. Yi relies on his deep Chinese roots and upbringing to express himself, with a style derived from many years of studying calligraphy and being inspired by classic Chinese landscapes. The lotus is one of his favourite themes. The award-winning artist has exhibited the world over, including China, Germany, France and the USA.
"Unlike flamboyant flowers, the quiet lotus is always compared to junzi (gentleman) in Chinese culture", says Yi. "Though it grows from mud, it maintains a pure unpolluted appearance. It's simplicity and elegance is what I convey."
Simple composition characterize Yi's works, especially seen in the uses of black, gray and white in his 'Sillhouette of Lotus' series. A lotus leaf rises out of the water and waves to move gently in the breeze. From a distance, his art appears as traditional Chinese ink-wash painting but, upon closer inspection, the details of reflection and light reveal the characteristics achieved by oil.
"I am trying to mesh contemporary artistry with traditional Chinese culture to create a sense of wonder that cannot be expressed explicitly in words. I received formal and fundamental art training when I was quite young. I was serious about my studies, which included several distinct disciplines; Chinese calligraphy, Chinese painting, oil painting and sculpture. I also have a deep interest in Chinese literature, philosophy and history, having studied Chinese culture with a focus on art philosophy. As a college student, I was introduced to Western art; and it enriched my style. My works pursue modern Chinese scholars' philosophies on the humanities. They are a combination of traditional Chinese humanities and modern worldly cultures.
A very good 'Xiu Yang' artist has works that have a kind of force or power. This evokes calmness, but is also powerful - the kind of power that is mentioned in Chinese traditional philosophy. This kind of force can move, mold, purify and even improve the viewer.
I like to pursue simple appearances for my paintings. This simple look is achieved without intention. But, in this painting, if you want to put in a little bit more, you will feel as if something is wrong. If you want to erase a little bit of the painting, you also feel unease. I am trying my best to paint so it is 'just perfect." This is also the fruit of my twenty years of training and research. In my works, I try to achieve the power of nature - a sense of ease, calm and peace that permeate my paintings."
Meet Taipei: Shanghai Oil Painting & Sculpture Exhibition, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan
Solo exhibition of ink painting and video, Bridge Gallery, Beijing
"Yizhou- Originals"- Tolman Collection and Smart Gallery, Shanghai
Solo exhibition of oil painting, Taiwan
Solo exhibition of oil painting and Chinese ink, Boston, USA
Solo exhibition of Chinese ink, 'The Power of Serenity', Hamburg, Germany
Solo exhibition, 'Tianzhen', Shanghai
Solo exhibition of Chinese ink, Dusseldorf, Germany
Personal handwriting exhibition, Jiangsu Province