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The Gallery Gazetteer



Exhibition by Qiu Shihua and Shi Jing,
the Magic of Imagination and Interpretation's Possibilities

by Agate Elie


"Fugitive Visions" exhibition at the Chambers Fine Art gallery. Coutesy of the Artist and Chambers Fine Art.

Entering Chambers Fine Art's gallery was like being in an empty white room. Yes, you could see painting shapes hanging on the walls but nothing visible on the actual canvases. The “Fugitive Visions” painting exhibition by Qiu Shihua and Shi Jing will surprise you along your journey. Both artists are from China: Qiu Shihua from the Sichuan Province and Shi Jing from the Yunnan Province. At first glance, their work seems to have the same monochromatic palette but the closer you get, the stronger color nuances reveal and shapes appear on the canvas.

Qiu Shihua - Untitled
Coutesy of the Artist and Chambers Fine Art.

Both artists talk about the importance of meditation. The predominance of white and the interpretations so inspired evokes meditative wisdom. When Christopher Mao, manager of the gallery, introduced me to each painting, I discovered the magic of imagination and interpretation's possibilities. Every painting has its secret and each minute you spend watching them, you get a better understanding. Each painting's interpretation depends on your mood. It means that there is not one truth but a multitude.

Qiu Shihua and Shi Jing express the same philosophy in two different ways. Qiu Shihua born in 1940, focuses his work on landscapes. He was inspired by French impressionism and then influenced by Doaism and became more intuitive. When Qiu Shihua paints, he doesn't know what landscape will appear on the canvas. As he explains “I seek for a certain flavor - a rhythm of spirit and energy, so that the soul drifts in the painting, like a shadow of the mind.” I would describe my experience of Qiu Shihua's art as deep and imaginative. I stared at the big white and beige untitled canvas for a long time to go in deeply and find its secret. I saw an ocean storm, the Arizona desert and a peaceful cloudy sky. There is not one truth but a multitude.

Shi Jing - "Liu Chao," 2010
Coutesy of the Artist and Chambers Fine Art.

Shi Jing, thirty years younger than Qui, plays more with visual angles and tricks with the audience. The subjects are very diverse; it could be a landscape, an animal or a person. At Chambers Fine Art, Shi Jing exhibits seven paintings and you can see his art's evolution. The latest work has a touch of color that catches your attention and I found it very intriguing. The characteristics of this artist could be defined as “the clearness hidden”. Indeed, if you look at the painting straight ahead, you won't find its secret. The trick is go travel around the canvas, from the extreme left to the extreme right.

I was very inspired by Shi Jing's work because it requires a very specific method and it gives you many interpretations when you discover what is under the white canvas. I was very fascinated by the light impact on the subjects represented. Each work has two sides to reveal. For example, when I was situated on the left hand side of the painting titled “Liu Chao” depicting a boy, I felt joy and happiness. Viewing the right hand side, I felt sadness and nostalgia for the boy. There is not one truth but a multitude.
[By Agate Elie]

The exhibition continues at Chambers Fine Art, 522 West 19th Street, until March 6th, 2011. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:00 am and 6:00 pm.


Chambers Fine Art

Adress: 522 West 19th Street, Manhattan, NY
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Price: Free
Official website:


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Agate Elie, a native of France, is a contributor to the Museum Gazeeter.