The uniqueness of Chinese painting lies in its emphasis on manifesting artistic spirit, on
expressiveness and on the pursuit of ideals through art. Therefore no true, noble work of art can be
created overnight, nor can it be made in haste or be forced out of the artist. The ideal psychological and
physical condition for Chinese painting is for the artist to be free of personal troubles and unmotivated
by the desire for worldly fame and material benefit. Only when it is uninfluenced by the need to pursue
worldly value can the artist’s mind be at ease, and the artist in a free-minded state. Artistic style should be
noble; artistic taste should be elevated and should have significance, which means that paintings should be
created by hand but rooted in the heart. Kuang Da, whose everyday name is Zhang Shengyuan (born 1954), has spent much of his time
visiting countless mountains and rivers, ancient trees and high cliffs. He has looked deep into unpolluted
nature and the realms he depicts are derived from his mountain visits. He believes that only artists who
are unselfish and who dare to leave the main roads can move beyond the mere piling up of dots, lines and
spaces in their paintings. He loves mountain rocks. Without them, his universe would lose its grandeur and
there would be no foundation for life in this world for him. If the grandeur of the universe embraces the
whole of time and space, then the conveyer of time and space for Kuang Da is mountain rock. They have
enlightened the artist to the truth that existence grows out of the void and emptiness and substance are
completely interdependent.
The paintings in this exhibit embody the artist’s true feelings and his belief that Mother Nature is
eternal, unfathomably profound, boundless and unsurpassable. He demonstrates convincingly his belief
that higher artistic realms are manifested through style and spirit, while lesser works reveal nothing more
than superficial likeness. His paintings break out of the bonds of naturalistic depiction and present us with
a refreshing blend of familiar objects seen in unfamiliar yet meaningful perspective.
The initial stage of mountains and waters
After the transformation
The paintings will be displayed in the library foyer, 3rd floor, WAC Bennett Library, starting
mid-June. WAC Bennett Library is located at 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC.
Please come to view the exhibit in the library foyer on the 3rd floor and join us for an
informal reception on Thursday, July 10, 2008 @ 10:30am in Special Collections, 7th floor,
WAC Bennett Library.
RSVP to the reception at library@sfu.ca