Chinese artist Luzhen Qui’s work, including “Purple Mountain II,” is on display in an exhibit called “Origins: Content and Form” through Feb. 21 at the Janice Charach Gallery.

Chinese artist Luzhen Qui’s work, including “Purple Mountain II,” is on display in an exhibit called “Origins: Content and Form” through Feb. 21 at the Janice Charach Gallery.

Photo provided by Linda Ashley


‘Origins’ of the East come to the Charach Gallery

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 10, 2019

 “Fragonard’s Temptation” is also on display.

“Fragonard’s Temptation” is also on display.

Photo provided by Linda Ashley

 Chinese artist Luzhen Qui’s work, “The Fantasy of Scholar’s Stone,” conveys her memories, culture and more.

Chinese artist Luzhen Qui’s work, “The Fantasy of Scholar’s Stone,” conveys her memories, culture and more.

Photo provided by Linda Ashley

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — You can’t just look and leave.

The whimsy, depth, color and stories of Chinese artist Luzhen Qui’s work command your attention and keep you enthralled in the intricacy.

Unfolding details.

Layers.

Moments.

Those moments are on display in an exhibit called “Origins: Content and Form” through Feb. 21 in a show at the Janice Charach Gallery, 6600 W. Maple Road.

“My work … they are related — so it is colorful, layered,” the Troy resident said of her multiple pieces of art on display, including “Fragonard’s Temptation,” “Fantasy of Scholar’s Stone” and “Purple Mountain.”

Qui, who grew up in China, said she uses layers and translucent textures to tell a story.

“I deal with the content. The content, the textiles and the story — textiles come from my traditional Chinese background,” she said, adding that traditional Chinese architecture, fabric and more are embedded into her art. “Those fragments, those decorations are really assembling together … to structure a new story.”

Qui is featured in a three-person show at the gallery.

Qui was born in Hangzhou, China, and came to America at age 27. She lives and works in Troy, creating a reputation for herself as a talented artist who incorporates her Chinese heritage into her work.

She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Wayne State University and has taught art throughout Michigan for nearly 30 years.

Her work has been shown and is part of public and private collections throughout Michigan, the United States and abroad, including in China. She helped organize the show of Chinese-inspired artists.

One artist, Chongzhang Zhou, is from China and is visiting for the show and a workshop at Wayne State. The third artist, Chinese-American artist Shulin Sun, also lives in Michigan.

An opening reception was planned for Jan. 13 at the gallery.

“By seizing on the theme of origins, we have been able to compile a unique gallery experience that combines the exciting work of modern Chinese artists working both in China and the United States with the multilayered vision of noted artists from across Michigan and elsewhere, inspired by the concept of heritage and beginnings,” Charach Gallery Executive Director Kelly Kaatz said in a press release. “I believe the variety of work will provide an inspiring experience for gallery visitors.”

Kaatz said in an email that Qui’s work is a “meticulous ensemble of brightly colored surrealist imagery … based on Chinese folklore and landscape. Each piece tells an intricate story and entices the viewer to look for quite some time,” she said.

“Origins” has in the first-floor gallery the work of the three Chinese heritage artists. On the upper level of the gallery, “Origins” features a curated group exhibition of 29 artists sharing stories of heritage and life’s beginnings, the release states.

Zhou, who is an established, award-winning artist in China, will showcase modern landscape watercolors that give a “sense of motion” and take inspiration from the style of the Song Dynasty.

Qui’s own multimedia artworks are described as dreamscapes inspired by her memories of childhood in China. Her works have been shown at galleries in the Cranbrook Art Museum; Touch Stone Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the Detroit Artists Market; the Ann Arbor Art Center; the Farmington Museum in New Mexico; and more.

Qui said her work is based on traditional Chinese fairy tales “and the legendary stories.” Her personal memories add a refabricated-like touch to her work, “a personal dreamscape.”

She said that the Asian perspective is a “shifting perspective,” whereas the Western, traditional perspective is more linear.

She uses the shifting perspective in her work.

“When you look at it in a motion way … your eyes settle in certain positions,” she said. “Your eye view almost invites the audience to go inside of the picture.”

The abstract pieces were created with colored pencil on layered mylar.

“I grew up in a place near the Purple Mountain — with the mountain full of the purple flowers in springtime, and historical stories,” she said.

One of her pieces of work is based on her native Hangzhou, China. “It’s my childhood’s stories and memories.”

Qui said she wants people who see her work to enjoy experiencing it as much as she enjoyed creating it.

“Look through and think about how I composed (it),” she said. “In the end, the contents, the form is more important than the content — people are anxious to know those textiles, stories, but the form is … the capacity of making an image. Making a painting — that’s most important for me.”

For more information about the “Origins” exhibition and the Janice Charach Gallery, go to www.charachgallery.org or call (248) 432-5579.

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