ARTvisions International Showcases Widely Varied Painting Techniques

Two dozen paintings by twelve international mid-career artists featured in ARTvisions International at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries present diverse examples of their technique and subject matter, according to veteran gallery director-curator Virginia Miller. An opening reception will be held from 6:00 to 10:00 pm on Friday, April 7, 2017 with additional receptions at the same time on May 5th and June 2nd.

“This exhibition offers an opportunity to see how paintings by highly accomplished and very individualistic artists from different countries, using widely divergent techniques and subject matter, can enhance each other, creating a scenario that is more than the sum of each work,” Miller said.

Highlighting the gallery’s current exhibition are six midcareer contemporary Chinese artists who premiered in previous gallery shows.

Dominating their works is a 21-foot triptych by Liao Zhenwu. His “Times Tag Series No. 16” depicts a smoky street scene crowded with pedestrians and motorcycles needed to navigate its hilly streets in his region of Sichuan. Liao takes the viewer into the gritty ambiance of its locale by his predominantly brownish-gray and black impasto on a flat, pale gray background suggesting smog. Another painting by Liao, “Meditation,” is a softly focused five-foot facial portrait with hands gently cradling part of the face, done in a cool gray-on-gray palette.

“These paintings successfully transcend their medium and transport us into the realm of feeling,” said Miller.

Other Chinese artists represented include a six-and-a-half foot horizontal painting by Li Bo, who selects his widely varied subject matter from the Internet and paints each item in the same size, and Wang Limin, whose six-foot portrait of a young woman wearing a large red flower is being showered by pink blossoms, colored symbols of life and celebration.

Two oils by Kang Can, typical of his works, show a tiny baby precariously astride a water buffalo and a baby delicately balanced on the stem of an enormous cherry about to be engulfed in a wave of water. “Some critics think placing the baby in hazardous situations represents the emergence of the new China and its place in the world,” said Miller.

Zhu Yan’s “I Love Tiananmen Square” has a chorus of nearly identical men performing in front of a curtain opening onto the Mao Zedong mausoleum—clearly a sarcastic commentary on national regimentation and adulation of  the late chair of the Chinese Communist Party.
A five-by-six-foot oil by Xiong Lijun, a well-known Neo-Pop artist, portrays three frolicsome young women dressed in skirts and sweaters against an eye-catching lime green background. The artist says that her works “combine brilliant colors, water and fluid motion with vibrant content and energetic subjects on large-scale compositions to declare our belief that our future is bright and cheerful. My work embodies the human spirit and flaunts an unencumbered and carefree individual freedom of expression.”

One of the masterful techniques that always draws comments is shown in two colorful abstractions by Puerto Rican artist Michelle Concepción. “The surface of her paintings present an amazing illusion of texture and depth,” said Miller. “These paintings are wonderful examples of her work, which is widely shown in European art fairs.”

German artist Florian Depenthal, a master colorist, is represented by seven paintings: six 16 x 20-inch abstractions in teal, black and white, and “Eurasia,” a five-foot canvas abstraction in tones ranging from brick to lime and purple. “Florian is a glider pilot,” Miller noted, “and sometimes you look at his paintings and feel like you are in the plane with him.”

Two six-foot canvases painted in the 1990s by the late Antonio Henrique Amaral, a prime member of Brazil’s “Tropicalismo Movement,” show off his extraordinary technique, which causes their surfaces to glimmer with thousands of shaded brush strokes. “Half Hidden,” a 1992 oil, exemplifies his luscious emerald green coloration, while “Urbanities and Weapon,” done in 1990, typically contrasts undulating biomorphic blue areas against sharply depicted prisms in jewel-like colors.

Included in ARTvisions International is “Burnt Swamp,” a six-foot painting by the celebrated American artist Richard Lytle, whose work was in “Sixteen Americans,” a 1959 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Others in the legendary exhibition included Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly,  Louise Nevelson,  Robert Rauschenberg, and Frank Stella. Miller, whose gallery is entering its 42nd year, calls Lytle’s work  “a superb example of contemporary American painting.”

Other paintings in the exhibition include four new watercolors by Argentine artist Mario Segundo Perez. “His paintings  are excellent examples of Latin American magic realism, spiced with his personal touch of whimsy,” Miller said.

Winding up the exhibition is Lew Wilson’s “Arizona Stratus (Sunset Series), a spectacular seven-foot painting predominately in shades of merlot, garnet, and brick with highlights in bright blue and yellow. “Pure abstraction,” said Miller, “with a wonderful sense of depth and delicious colors.”

Located in the heart of Coral Gables’ business and restaurant district at 169 Madeira Avenue, ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries is open from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and by appointment. For more information, please call 305-444-4493.

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