Exhibition Watch: Liu Ye, Bamboo Bamboo Broadway (New York)

Liu’s Third Solo Exhibition At Sperone Westwater

"Banned Book 3" (2010), Acrylic on canvas

With the autumn art season just around the corner, one exhibition to keep on the radar is Bamboo Bamboo Broadway, the third solo show by Beijing artist Liu Ye (刘野) at Sperone Westwater in New York City. Featuring all-new paintings, Bamboo Bamboo Broadway introduces new genres to Liu’s oeuvre, including landscape and still-life, while still engaging with the history of modernism and the tradition of abstraction in historical Chinese painting.

Bamboo Bamboo Broadway (2012), the exhibition’s titular painting, plays the role of the show’s anchor. The artist’s largest work to date, the piece — executed in New York  — consists of a nine-part painting measuring 6 x 9 meters, which spans the gallery’s double-height wall. Merging a familiar trope in Chinese painting — bamboo imagery in a landscape format — with modernist compositions inspired by Bauhaus architecture and the work of Mondrian, Liu Ye creates an aesthetic effect that is “balanced, graceful, pure, and projecting a sense of serenity.” As critic, art historian, and artist Robert C. Morgan has said of the artist’s work,”Liu’s paintings internalize large ideas within small spaces, thereby reinvigorating a new possibility for intimacy in art within the transcultural excess of the present.”

At the exhibition, Bamboo Bamboo Broadway (2012) will be accompanied by a group of small-scale paintings, a signature format for the blue-chip Chinese artist, including Small Painter (2009-2010), Banned Book 3 (2010), Birds (2011), and Pinocchio (2011). Rational, contemplative, and quirkily solemn, these works highlight Liu Ye’s well of inspiration, which includes everything from 1950s Dutch pop culture to 17th-century Spanish still-life painting.

Liu Ye: Bamboo Bamboo Broadway
September 6, 2012 through October 27, 2012
Sperone Westwater
257 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

"Pinocchio" (2011). Oil on linen

"Small Painter" (2009 - 2010). Acrylic on canvas


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