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 Shi Liang  (1965 - )

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Lived/Active: China      Known for: neo-realist portrait, nude and interior painting

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Liang Shi is primarily known as Shi Liang

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
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The following commentary titled "About the Painter Shi Liang" is from ZEITWERK NAUSEA, http://zeitwerknausea.wordpress.com/english/about-the-painter-shi-liang/

Shi Liang (??), born 1965 in China, Shandong-Province, paints portaits and nudes in neo-realistic style. His interiors, the walls and floors showing aisthetics well known since Lucian Freud, sparse rooms, studio-atmosphere, corny, smeared stone and clay.  This style is already established and has had for long time an influence on the decoration of urban cafés and clubs.

Also the humans portraited by Shi Liang reminds one of Freud, yet Shi doesn’t come to the same degree of expressionism. His figures are more naturalistic. The perspective of Freud or Rodin, showing the extremities of human un-proportionedly, is not found in his works. "The power of art“ which, as Hrdlicka maintained, "derives from the flesh", is here not manifested in crude wrinkles and foaming bellies, but in the erotics of rough-edged collar bones and young breasts.  Shi Liangs nudes are cool and restrained, the women he portraits are slim and arousing – not far away from some kind of gloomy advertising photography.

Over some of his later nudes lies a bright shine, not a Philip Pearlstein-like pornographic lighting, but an opulent overexposure of white skin, like the Venus of Cranach.  There is one painting showing a nude girl inside the living-room, half hidden behind an indoor palm (Nude, 2007).  Already the young Lucian Freud had created this kind of human/plant-portraits; the palm of Shi Liang, even the cracked flowerpot, undoubtedly derives from Freud's painting Interior in Paddington, out of 1951. The plant is identical.

The girl's posture is decidedly stiff, the only movement is her attemp to look to the front while standing behind the palm. Her pubic hairs are cut over-meticulously; she reflects perfect cleanliness.  A dog in the front turns away from her, on the right side one can see a leg, obviously a mans one, who goes away.

Another painting (Guanyin) shows the same fragile hygiene.  A women with boyish body thrown over shiny white sheets.  The title, Guanyin, refers to the most revered Boddhisattwa of Chinese Buddhism.  Apart from that fact, this painting – like the rest of Shi Liang's works do – abstains from further special Chinese colouring.

Astonishingly these are the later works, which become in this way surrealistically charged. The older ones are more realistic, where the artificial light is not extant. There is a series of pictures, painted about ten years earlier, setting a woman or a pair into an un-wallpapered chamber, together with a red TV set and a dark red blanket. The woman is naked, the man wears jeans and heavy boots.

Copying the works of western modern arts contemporary Chinese artist would not consider to be blemish anyhow.  It is their way to get away from the academic fug.  The concret in art still counts a lot in China, so Chinese artist accept Gerhard Richter, Balthus, Lucian Freud and Bacon.

The works of Shi Liang cites the Freudian realism in every detail.  But Freud in working process never stuck to photography as Shi Liang obviously does.  In Freud’s early paintings there is a striking surrealism, maybe it is the other way round with Shi Liang, who uses surrealism later to escape photographical realism.  This could make a cheesy impression on us, but porbably from a chinese point of view it is not so cheesy at all.


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