February 18 through April 9, 2016

Once the largest city in the world, the ancient Chinese capital Chang’an housed many of the nation’s most powerful dynasties. As one of Asia’s most significant cultural centers, Chang’an bred centuries of vibrant artistic tradition. Today, this tradition continues as artists and scholars examine the past and make their own contributions toward China’s ongoing artistic legacy. This February, ten exceptional Chinese artists bring this exciting fusion of the ancient and the contemporary to the United States, in the exhibition Imaginative Chang'an.

Chang’an—whose name means “long peace”—is located central China’s Wei River Valley, near the Qin Mountains. The city’s location at the finishing point of the Silk Road brought it into contact with diverse cultural influences, and by the 8th century it had become a cosmopolitan city of over one million people. The local population mingled with merchants, diplomats, students, and missionar- ies, exchanging goods and ideas from far and wide. The fine arts flourished, particularly during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 C.E.), prompting modern scholars to describe Chang’an as “the cultural capital of all East Asia.”

Although ancient Chang’an has been engulfed by the modern city of Xi’an, artists, scholars, and lovers of Chinese culture continue to celebrate the city’s history and traditions, and proudly call themselves Chang’an people.

The Chang’an Chinese Painting Research Society is a modern organization dedicated to the great city’s artistic heritage. In ancient times, the ubiquitous calligraphy in Chinese painting required that artists be literate. Consequently, painters were often among society’s most educated people, and many functioned also as poets, scholars, and even government officials. Today, research society members continue this ancient artist-as-scholar tradition. The ink-on-rice-paper paintings displayed in this exhibition demonstrate a masterful awareness of ancient techniques while simultaneously expressing individuality and creativity. In addition to technique, these paintings display an interest in culture and natural beauty, featuring subjects like people and families, animals, agriculture, music, weather, and seasons of Chang’an and beyond.

The artists featured in this exhibition include some of the most prominent painters in China today. Included are works from Yang Xiaoyang (President of the China National Academy of Painting), Jiang Yixiang (Vice President of Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts), Liu Xijie (Chair of Chinese Painting Department, Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts), and Liu Yongjie (Professor of Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts). Also included are the up-and-coming artists Wang Baoan, Yang Ji, Liu Dan, Lv Shufeng, Zhao Baoping, and Qiao Yinan, whose skill and imagination promise an exciting future. 


Join us for the ...
Exhibition Opening, Thursday, February 18, 2016.
Perspective Lecture with Yan Sun at 6 pm
Live music featuring the Zanesville World Music Ensemble, light bites, and a cash bar at 6:30 pm.

Free and open to the public.