Garden of Hundreds of Plants (百草园)

September 7, 2022 – October 14, 2022
Qualia Gallery

328 University Ave
Palo Alto, CA

Ruijun Shen "Self-Reserved Land - Farming (自留地 - 耕作)", 2020, Traditional Chinese paint and oil color on silk, 9.8 x 15 in

Ruijun Shen "Self-Reserved Land - Farming (自留地 - 耕作)", 2020, Traditional Chinese paint and oil color on silk, 9.8 x 15 in

Qualia Contemporary Art is pleased to announce an upcoming group exhibition this month, Garden of Hundreds of Plants (百草园) by contemporary Chinese artists Zhenchen Liu, LYU Peng, and Ruijun Shen, on view from September 7 through October 14, 2022. You are cordially invited to come to the opening event on September 10th from 4:30 to 6:30 PM.

Each artist in Garden of Hundreds of Plants (百草园) employs traditional media to explore the enduring capacity of nature to heal and to empower. The natural world offers refuge to Shen, Liu, and Lyu, who have resisted the fragmentation and chaos of modern life by returning to the land. Selected works, from painting to printmaking, represent the creative fruits of contemporary artistic practices that engage with nature, tradition, and history.

The artists draw upon their collective experiences of living and working in China, the rich traditions of Chinese culture, ancient histories, and philosophies that have transcended centuries of change. Nature provides common ground for such intergenerational discourse, and mediates the artists’ disparate relationships with a fast-moving, urbanized contemporary society, and their individual pursuits of agency. Beyond its environmental connotation, sustainability is a unifying theme across the exhibition – the sustainability of modern life, the nourishment of the body, mind, and spirit, and the cultivation of the self.

Ruijun Shen was born in 1976 in Guangzhou, China. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Oil Painting from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2000 and her two Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Montclair State University in 2004 and School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. She studies the history of self-reserved land in China, commenting on the power of self-cultivation as well-being and healing. She believes human beings live in situations where every object and event are interconnected, including our relationship to land and produce, which is forefronted in her gardening practice.

Zhenchen Liu was born in 1976 in Shanghai, China. After graduating from the Shanghai University Fine Arts College in 2000 and the Villa Arson (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Nice) in 2005, Liu received a “Post-Diplôme” at Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains, studying painting and video arts. His works focus on the postmodern urban experience, and in his Panacea paintings series, Liu is searching for healing through reconnection to nature and the usage of medicinal plants.

LYU Peng is a Chinese contemporary painter who was born in Beijing, China in 1967 and received his PhD in Chinese Painting from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China in 2007. Through his landscape paintings, Lyu quietly seeks connection to nature over the never-ending bustle of Chinese urban society. He uses traditional Chinese techniques in contemporary self-reflection as an attempt to find peace in current times.