Exhibit of Eastern art at Jackson Gallery celebrates Spring

MIDDLEBURY — The Jackson Gallery at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury is currently showing “Return of the Spring,” an exhibition featuring the work of Middlebury artist Yinglei Zhang; her mentor, Mr. Li Xubai from China, currently living in Canada; and her teacher Mr. Guo Ziyu of Hong Kong. Both Li and Guo have work collected by private owners and museums around the world.
Each artist applies traditional Eastern forms in ink-and-wash studies of nature, but each has a unique perspective. Coinciding with the Chinese New Year celebration, also known as the Spring Festival, the show is on display through March 5. Zhang will give an art talk during the reception scheduled for Friday, Feb. 12, from 5-7 p.m.
Zhang blends the traditional techniques learned from her mentors with her own vision as inspired by the surrounding Vermont landscape. At home in two cultures, she also enjoys painting studies of bamboo. As in the classical Chinese style, she writes lines of poetry in calligraphy side-by-side with her images. “In Chinese art, everything comes from within yourself … and you use nature to express yourself.”
Zhang loved drawing and calligraphy as a child, but was selected for training as a teacher in her native China where she taught for 12 years before coming to the U.S. in 1985 for further education. She began her studies in Chinese painting with Master Guo Ziyu in 1995, and then with Master Li Xubai since 1996, moving to Vermont in 1997. She has also studied Western drawing and oil painting and Chinese art history, and holds an M.A. in art education from Saint Michael’s College. She has taught Chinese art at a number of Vermont institutions and received an award for Distinction in the Visual Arts from Middlebury College Friends of the Art Museum in 2005.
Mr. Guo Ziyu was born into a family of artists in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China, in 1946. His art education included both Eastern and Western and classical and contemporary techniques as he trained with his family and then at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art. He also graduated from the Movie and Film Academy of Guangdong, China. He settled in Hong Kong in 1980 where he established a studio in his name, and later an art gallery.
He works with ink on paper and often adds a beautiful range of color. His images cover all three areas: birds and flowers, figures, and landscapes with equal expertise. Paintings are either framed or mounted on silk in traditional scroll form.
Mr. Li Xubai has long been inspired by mountains, first in his native China and now in Canada where he resides. In these grand landscapes he looks for the subtle texture and form in the rocks, trees and waterfalls. He paints in the classical tradition and in quiet tones that seem to suggest not only the visual rhythm but also the sounds of the natural scene depicted. Li also composes poems that appear in his own exquisite calligraphy.
Born in 1940 in the coastal city of Fuzhou in southeastern China, Li started to paint with watercolors and oils as a youth, but became fascinated by the more traditional art forms. He received some instruction with a mentor, but was chosen to train as a teacher and then assigned to an elementary school position in the rural mountainous region of inland Fujan Province. He continued his self-education during this time, and also began teaching Chinese painting. By 1989 he was able to devote himself full time to his artwork and later relocated to the Toronto area.
The Jackson Gallery is located in the lower level of Town Hall Theater, a community and cultural venue located in the center of Middlebury. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., and an hour before any public events in the building.
For further information, call 802-382-9222 or visit www.townhalltheater.org.

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