The Urban Energies of China

Michael Downs
8 Feburary – 1 March 2020

Producer:   Huijinou Wang
Guests:       Brian Wallace, Dr Peter Hill

The astonishing growth of the great cities of China has captivated me for thirty years now. I have lived and worked in many of them and have seen at first hand the staggering urban energies on display in cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

My urban landscapes burst off the rectangular format and dance across the wall as if their trapped energy had finally found a release. Much as the great cities do themselves. They are relentlessly expanding both upwards and across their suburbs and the surrounding countryside.

Many of my perspectives are from above; as a bird, a plane passenger or a drone may see when looking down. This allows for another metaphor to come into play and that is Chinese calligraphy, the beautiful, expressive strokes that written characters possess.

Many of the works in the exhibition are based on Shanghai. There are glimpses of the Yangtse and the Bund and the neon signs of streets like Nanjinglu. The weather plays a part too in the paintings; some are in bright sunlight, others in a rainstorm and others at night. Each has its own drama and accompanies the swirling activities at street level far below.

Grand Opening: Thursday 13 Feburary, 6-8 pm