"The Red Trio," guest-curated by Yu "Ian" Wang of Champaign, with Nathan Westerman, will remain on display through March 23, with the opening reception and curator's talk scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. The Springer Cultural Center is at 301 N. Randolph St., C.
"The Red Trio" features red soil paintings, red tea painting and Jiansui red clay ceramic art from the Yunnan Province. In "red soil painting," actual soil is incorporated into the painting as both background material and pigment to create texture and produce high-relief forms.
"The art of this younger generation of Yunnan artists carries within it a deep consciousness of recent Chinese history while striving to respond to the undeniable developments of contemporary society," Wang wrote.
"As a result, the stylistic vocabulary and topical themes of the Yunnan School of Painting are characterized by uniformly clear line work, bold use of color, a love for overlapping geometric design, a daring combination of both traditional Chinese water-ink painting and modern Western abstract art forms that often depict the indigenous ethnic cultures and traditional myths of the Yunnan region of southwest China."
After visiting his birthplace of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, two years ago, Wang developed with artist Hong Shi a technique using a special Yunnan tea (Pu-Er) as a pigment.
"Stylistically, Red Tea Painting combines three elements: traditional Chinese literati painting, ancient Yunnan Na-Xi Dong Ba pictorial calligraphy and Western abstract painting," he wrote. "In their initial paintings, Ian and Hong Shi utilized two major sources of inspiration: Modern Western abstraction and the heritage of Chinese culture."
In contrast, the red or purple Jianshui pottery and ceramic art in Yunnan has a long history. Jianshui pottery has been manufactured for more than 900 years. Today, the most popular and better known is the Jianshui Purple Pottery, which focuses on functionality.
More than 100 types of Jiansui Purple Pottery forms, such as pots, bottles, basins, tea sets, steam pots and ornaments for scholars in their studies, are now one of the major exports of the province.
The exhibition at Springer features Purple Pottery by three contemporary Jianshui pottery masters, Chen Shao Kang, Yuan Yin De and Ma Chen Lin.