Gao Ping, Stone 2, 2017, mixed media on paper, 68x109cm
Sands of Time

2 May - 8 Jun 2019 Gao Ping

Sands of Time

Featured artist Gao Ping

Much of the inspiration for the works in this exhibition comes from memories of Gao Ping’s childhood in Yantai, a coastal town in northern China. She uses earthy tones – black, grey and ochre – to depict not just the objects and forms in this landscape, but also the feelings evoked by the darkness and the light.

Gao Ping knew from early on that she wanted to be an artist. As a young girl she was particularly interested in Shuimo 水墨 – traditional Chinese ink painting. She has developed her own free style painting which has its basis in this tradition. She was trained at the prestigious art school, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). Gao Ping’s works are held in private and public collections all around the world.

Gao Ping is one of thirty leading female artists included in Luise Guest’s book ‘Half the Sky: Conversations with Women Artists in China’.

Sands of Time installation view, 2019

Sands of Time installation view, 2019

Sands of Time installation view, 2019

“There is is a complex interwoven relationship between eastern and western art histories and philosophies, but a visual language that is entirely her own.”

Sands of Time

Opening speech by Luise Guest

2 May 2019

I am really delighted and most honoured to be invited to officially open this exhibition of new work by Gao Ping at Vermilion Art, called ‘Sands of Time’ or ‘Sha Zhong’.

The title of the show, beyond referencing the landscapes of the artist’s native Shandong Province, and her coastal hometown of Yantai, suggests the measuring of time, but perhaps it also has associations of timelessness. For me this is very much the key to Gao Ping’s work – she is immersed in the physicality of her creation, referencing different aspects of Chinese tradition (most obviously in her ink works) and there is indeed a sense of both time passing and timelessness in the patient, quiet repetition and endless practice that brings refinement and depth to the work of a skilled artist.

Another association, of course, is the hourglass or ‘sand clock’ which measures time, and human lives. Gao Ping’s work refers both to that sense of timelessness, of being ‘in the moment’ of creation in the studio where you cease to be aware of time, but also to the slightly melancholy consciousness of the passage of time – even, in these works, of geological time, the wearing away of mountain ranges and the slow tectonic shifts of the plates of the earth. In Shandong Province, there are rocks that are billions of years old, that were once under the ocean and have marine fossils embedded within them even though they are now found in quarries far from the coast – it is also home to sites of the most significant dinosaur fossils, so the idea of aeons of time is embedded in the very landscape. Gao Ping’s ink and acrylic works in this show convey that element of layering, sedimentation and geological weathering, of wind and water turning rock to grains of sand – even when their subject is the contemporary banal such as – an electrical power board.

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