‘The constant recovering of the harmony takes all my care and I have to look out that I don’t fall into one of both sides’
We can find two very different genres in the oeuvre of Qiangli Liang (Guangzhou, China, 1964). On the one hand he paints human figures that are standing motionless and with closed eyes next, and sometimes even on top, of each other. On the other hand Liang paint still life in the tradition of the seventieth century. The eastern way of thinking is emphatically present. The artist studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Guangzhou. The motionless appearance, the thinking in collectivity and the search for balance in the elements from the Chinese culture that the artist kept in his remaining western paintings.
Specially for the PAN 2015 he made a new series of statues cast in bronze. The statues have the same theme as the paintings with the human figures. But at the fair we combined the statues with his still life works.
The objects are put on an equal surface, mostly a table. They are objects that we can find in a classic still life, like fruit, bottles, bowls, rolled paper or a box. De depict is centered and contains on or more color accents. We always see the object from slantwise from the top on the table. The surface on which the objects are put on is equal of color, just like the wall in the back of the painting. The room isn’t defined besides that. Because of the peaceful and subtle coloring of the surfaces, the object are even more on the foreground. Joyful green pears, sensual red peaches, fierce red onions or a bright blue box, mostly put next to an object with a contrasting color.
Liang limits the amount of colors per painting to remain a certain degree of soberness. It’s not so much the individual objects, but the balance between the colors and sections that make the composition interesting.
On the opposite of the balanced and serene structure of the depict stands the tension between the different colors. In that sense the two genres of the artist are essentially not that different from each other. It’s about tension-relaxation, interior-exterior, movement-stillness, passive-active.
Liang uses sober brown and grey shades as the background for his still life. These will be adjusted quickly and roughly with a pencil or a palette knife. The painter aims to spontaneity in his work and doesn’t aim to give a photorealistic image of the reality. He tries to apply parts of the depict, as well as the accents, in one try; at least when he is satisfied with it. The objects in his still life are not painted equal, like in a traditional depict, but pasty with a visible pencil track. Because of this the surface of the canvas gets a lively look with big, flat parts and smaller elements that are painted pasty. In this way Liang is searching for balance between peace and movement, speed and slowness.