This exhibition features sixteen paintings completed in, near, and now after 2016 when he celebrated his 100th year birthday, including a giant and emotion-intense six-panel painting depicting Qing Feng Ridge of Chao Yang, the city where the artist married his wife Ms. Yunqin Zhang seventy-two years ago. These paintings best exemplify Hou’s painting process, poetic approach, favorite themes, and variations in ink, color and format. As quoted from the exhibition essay by Dr. Richard Vinograd, Christensen Fund Professor in Asian Art in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University, “Such continuing artistic productivity is cause for congratulation and admiration on many grounds, and more than a little wonder. Even more remarkable is that encountering Hou Beiren’s recent paintings evokes responses well beyond the merely celebratory. Hou’s reputation as a painter is firmly established in his Northern California home region and in his native China, but viewing the twenty or so recent works in the present exhibition offers many kinds of rewards, not always predictable. Hou’s paintings open up to multiple arenas of experience and feeling: realms of form and color first and foremost, but also of poetic imagery, theme and narrative. Visual forms and texts unfold into evocations of place and poetics, season and spectacle, memory and mood. Hou’s works offer many episodes of recognition, or brief journeys of discovery, as parts of an ongoing process of coming into view. Along the way we are afforded glimpses of art worlds and history, scenes of dream and memory, and insights into artistic process and associations.”
Well versed in Chinese classics and literature and a celebrated poet and writer, Hou has mastered a vernacular to communicate the innate subtleties of “Qi Yun”. The abstract expression simplifies and purifies the multitude of physical forms of mountains and waters into two-dimensional color pigments. His erudite aesthetic and intellectual cultivation added an additional dimension of varied rhythms and patterns for the observers to penetrate beneath the two-dimensional forms and feel with their hearts the innate “spirits” or “souls”. Please join us to celebrate Master Hou Beiren’s century art journey and look forward to many more years, and many more paintings.