Inspired by, yet simultaneously breaking with traditional Chinese ink painting, Qu Leilei creates starkly realistic works. These recent paintings, executed only in ink and water, demonstrate his mastery in brush control and handling of monochromatic pigments.
Traditionally, using ink and water (shuimo) to paint a subject has never simply been about reproducing it, but about capturing its spirit. But Qu also employs a keen understanding of the human form. He blends Chinese principles with Western aesthetic conventions, which value naturalistic form and authenticity in artistic representation.
Educated from a young age in painting and calligraphy, Qu later studied human anatomy at Beijing Medical University, an experience which has educated his understanding of the complex form of the human body. Light and shade are dexterously handled across his works; dramatic chiaroscuro heightening the studies, making them palpably real.
The title for the exhibition can be read as a reference to Qu’s adroit depiction of the human spirit in all its tangible detail. Of Echoes, Qu Leilei says: “From form, sound, soul, human nature to time, art itself is the echo of life”. His work adheres to ink painting traditions but also to western artistic principles of capturing reality. These cultures reverberate throughout his work.