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 Guo Bing  (1954 - )

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Lived/Active: China      Known for: landscape painting

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Biography from Verna Glancy Fine Art:
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The sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II has had a profound effect on painter Guo Bing, who was born in 1954, 10 years after the war's dramatic conclusion.  "The painful memory of the Second World War has people thinking about the devastation and agony that war always produces," explains the artist.  "As an ordinary painter, I think I have a responsibility, through my art, to advocate peace and to show that any war effort can only lead to disaster.  That is why my most recent work deals with the war machine in a static state -- weapons and bleak memories of destruction suspended in time, boxed up and sealed for safekeeping in people's remembrance forever."

Guo Bing had the idyllic environment of Gannan Teachers College to first ruminate about such serious subject matter.  Located in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, an area in southeastern China known for its exquisite natural beauty, misty mountains, rushing rivers and placid lakes, this sprawling science and humanities institution was where Guo earned a degree in fine arts in 1981.  It was in Ganzhou, an ancient, culturally rich city dating back more than 2,100 years to the early Western Han Dynasty where he dedicated himself to oil painting, winning inclusion in a number of major Chinese exhibitions over the ensuing years.

In 1991, Guo completed a course of oil painting at China Art College (formerly Zhijiang Art College) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, where he studied under the personal guidance of Xu Mangyao, an important internationally recognized contemporary Chinese oil painter who is currently the dean of the Art Institution of Shanghai Normal University. According to Guo, Xu's lyrical blending of classical painting techniques and modern thought has directly affected Guo's style.

However, Guo credits the edgy, avant-garde work of Shi Chong, a noted artist-professor at Beijing's Tsinghua University, for influencing his choice of and approach to his subject matter.  Shi emphasizes 'conceptual design' and the idea that the copy is transformed in the course of creation," explains Guo.  "This viewpoint has inspired me to make my work metaphorical and thus weighted beyond the mere reality of the objects I choose to depict."

This manner of visually manifesting the conceptual underpinnings of the subject of war is used effectively by the painter in Motionless (2004), which was chosen for the Tenth China National Art Exhibition in Beijing and awarded First Prize at the Twelfth Jiangxi Province Art Exhibition.  In this large scale, sepia-toned canvas, the viewer is given the sense that he is peering down into an old box at the bottom of which a tiny abandoned tank rests, as well as a miniature warship, its stern poking through the box's side.  Both, sprinkled with autumnal debris, lie atop dog-eared photographs lining the inside of the box -- photos that depict generic battle scenes, bombings and the frozen screams of agonized victims caught in war's crossfire.  It is as if the painter has contained these instruments of warfare and their attendant horrors, rendering them lifeless, in the hope that, like old mementos relegated to the closet, they will lose their luster and finally fade away.



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