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Li Songsong in New York

Chinese artist Li Songsong is showing new paintings at The Pace Gallery in New York until August 5, 2011

Craving and Flaws, 2011 by Chinese painter Li Songsong. Courtesy of The Pace Gallery, New York.

Li Songsong is a very interesting Chinese painter. Born in 1973 and currently living and working in Beijing, he has come to the attention of principal galleries in the west. Among the current highlights, Saatchi Gallery in London is collecting his work, and The Pace Gallery in New York is giving him a solo show this summer.

His work sits at the crossroads of figurative and abstract art, and can be read from either side. In this sense, it will be exciting to animators whose interest lies not just in the story but also in the aesthetic of the painted image.

Underlying figurative elements in these large panoramic works quickly direct us to a storyline built around found images whose origin is intimate family photographs, loaded political images, and riveting film stills.

But as we attempt to hook into this rich narrative content, we find ourselves brought quickly to the surface of the paint through the emphasis on abstract elements. Pattern, texture, colour deliberately distort and even bury whole segments of the reference images leaving us to fill in the gaps with our imagination, or stand back and ride the wave of pure aesthetic pleasure derived from paint marvelously applied.

The show is on until Friday August 5, 2011. If you’re in New York, try to catch it.

An interview with the artist is in the works – stay tuned.

Update: So far I've been unable to reach the artist. If anyone knows how I can get in touch with him to do this interview, please let me know in a comment to this post, or by email to amble[at]  Thanks!