Li Huasheng: An Individualistic Artist

li huashengJuly 2 – August 30, 1998
In 1983, the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco presented a groundbreaking exhibition of contemporary Chinese paintings from the People’s Republic of China. Dr. Lucy Lim, then the Executive Director and Curator of the Center, organized the exhibition which featured the works of over thirty artists. Among the group was Li Huasheng, an emerging artist from Sichuan Province. His paintings, filled with wild, dynamic brushstrokes, captured the attention of many who saw the exhibition. Today, fifteen years later, the Chinese Culture Center presents a one-man exhibition by Li Huasheng to explore his artistic evolution. We feel it is fitting that Lucy Lim, who has been one of the leading proponents of contemporary Chinese painting, should be the special consultant for this project and we are pleased to have her participation.
Li Huasheng was born in 1944 in Yibin, Sichuan Province, China. Trained in Western socialist realism, Li’s paintings are a far departure from this rigid style that was the norm for artists in China during Mao Zedong’s rule. Li finds inspiration in the lush scenery of his native Sichuan and in the eccentric masters of the past. A true individualist, he writes out his paintings in a free, sketchy, calligraphic manner -a wildly expressionistic style that reduces the landscape to abstraction. The vibrant energy of his paintings induces an immediate sense of exhilaration in the viewers.
This exhibition consists of paintings dating from 1980 to 1993. Of special importance are the paintings of 1990 to 1993 which have never been exhibited or published before. They point toward a new phase in the artist’s career-one in which pure form and abstract patterns dominate the compositions. The accompanying exhibition catalogue, published by A1isan Fine Arts Limited, Hong Kong, with an essay by Lucy Lim, provides insight and updated information on this talented artist.
The paintings in the exhibition are on loan from the collection of Alice King, Director of A1isan Fine Arts Limited and various private collections in the United States. The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco thanks all the collectors for lending their art works and Lucy Lim for het assistance in organizing this project. We are extremely grateful to Grams for the Arts of the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund and individual donors for their generous funding support of this exhibition.