We are pleased to present a guided tour with painter and poet Li Xubai (李虛白, b. 1940) at the beginning of his exhibition, "Wandering Spirit: Lyrical Landscapes by Li Xubai". Born in Fuzhou, Li moved to Hong Kong in 1979 and worked as an editor of art magazines before migrating to Canada in 1996. He now divides his time between Toronto, Fuzhou and Hong Kong.
As a teenager, Li taught himself oil and watercolour painting, and began studying Chinese classical literature, poetry and landscape painting under the tutelage of Master Liu Heng (劉蘅, 1895-1998) in the early 1960s. Well-versed in both Western and Chinese traditional arts, his paintings have a unique artistic and poetic appeal, incorporating stylistic elements reminiscent of works by old masters such as Gong Xian (龔賢, 1618-1689), who was celebrated for developing the jimo (積墨) technique of painting landscapes with layered ink.
The exhibition will feature approximately forty of Li's landscapes dating from 1999 to 2012. These works reflect his strong sentiments toward mountains and rivers and demonstrate the dialogue between literary and visual imagery. His recent landscapes in splashed colours express a distinctive and mature style that articulates his inner visions in a new direction – an exploration of more abstract compositions with the use of bright colours and wet washes.