This exhibit is sponsored by Kit & Bonnie Lam, Ron & Rosie Soohoo, Don Yee & Frances Leung,
Linda Tsao Yang, and Terence Leung.
Shimo is an artist who defies categorization. His talent at bridging media, styles of painting, and cultural modes of expression is visually apparent in this current exhibit, Dualities. Born and trained in both traditional Chinese ink and Western style oil painting in China, Shimo has resided in Sacramento since 2003. In his professional life, he has organized multiple exhibits of art at his eponymous gallery in midtown Sacramento, in addition to maintaining an active artistic practice as a painter and ceramic artist in both countries.
His current body of work pairs his elegant, porcelain vessels with gestural paintings of lotus flowers. Using highly prized clay from Jingdezhen, where Chinese potters for centuries have crafted and fired their blue-and-white ware, Shimo first throws his large vessels on a wheel. The artist then joins several different forms together by hand. Afterward, he carves them to be extremely thin, in order to emphasize porcelain’s natural translucence. The spare, geometric shape of his vessels relies more on a modernist tradition of simple forms, rather that the elaborative silhouettes of Chinese vases.
With a broad brush and cobalt blue oxide, Shimo paints wide fields of blue on his vessels. His expressive adaptation of paint and gesture to convey emotion relates to an interest in the New York Abstract Expressionist style of painting of the 40s and 50s. He alternates this abstraction with more naturalistically portrayed branches, birds, and lotus buds. Such expressions of beauty function as symbols replete with cultural and spiritual significance. The lotus grows up pure and resilient from the murky waters that surround it, showing the purity of Buddhist doctrine in the face of earthly temptations.
In his paintings, Shimo blends specific natural motifs seen in the three-dimensional pieces, with larger areas of ink washes, punctuated by a few touches of white, pink or red. He often mixes his own pigments from natural materials, and his known for creating ‘ji-mo,’ or a rippling surface due to the accumulation of dripping ink on paper.
In all, Shimo’s current work in porcelain and on paper is part of his ever evolving practice that merges ancient traditions with a contemporary spirit, and we are grateful to the artist for sharing his work with us.
Make Stuff! Ink Brush Painting with Shimo
During the workshop, students will learn about Chinese ink painting, and the connection to Shimo’s current work. He will demonstrate simple techniques of using sticks, brushes, and other objects, to paint. Artists will learn how to use traditional Chinese brushes with ink and paint to create delicate paintings of natural objects, such as lotus flowers and branches.
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