Professor Chai’s Video
Enjoy our newest video on Chai Zu Shun—his life and artistic genius. See Chai at work, and learn how his creativity has evolved into his abstract mental imagery paintings that blend the vibrant color splashing of Western art with the delicate ink brush strokes of his traditional Chinese heritage.
“Top 5 Levels”
The painting titled “Top 5 Levels” is bursting with color reminiscent of a bundle of poppies. This comparison may not be far off the mark since the work is included under “Flowers” in this website’s online gallery. Painted in 2012, this painting is one of the most vibrant of the mental imagery paintings of Chai Zu Shun, who is noted for his use of color.
One art critic notes that “Chai’s paintings are marked by their gorgeous colors mixed by Chai himself, criss-cross veins, overlapping motley, and ink and pigment splashing. Tactfully combining strokes with ink and colors, the artist extends the accidental elements and transforms them into abstract drawing symbols, representing pictures of romantic and wonderful imagery.”
Another critic also comments on Chai’s masterful use of color. “What attracts us most is the red color, which is the earliest hue fascinating the human race. In China, the Upper Cave Men adorned themselves with red mineral pigments as early as 10,000 years ago. The primitive people held the color red to be the symbol of life, love, spring, warmth, emotion.”
Outlined in traditional Chinese black ink strokes, the red-orange clusters in “Top 5 Levels” are blurred as if they are melting together. Is this a commentary on the transitory nature of beauty, and by extension—life? Chai speaks of changing images in terms of ever-shifting sand, where nothing stays the same for long. This is not unlike the Buddhist concept of life, where even happiness is viewed as temporary.
Chai’s Work “Spiritually Stimulating”
Berrisford Boothe is a multimedia artist, art professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Architecture at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (U.S.A.). Boothe recently mounted his 13th solo exhibition, and has been part of nearly 70 group exhibitions internationally. Here is what he says about Chai Zu Shun’s mental imagery paintings:
“Chai’s work is so very spiritually stimulating!! Yes, it is grounded in an ageless ‘Asian aesthetic,’ but his paintings are a very original response to Western contemporary art. More importantly, his work is resonant enough with truth about the human spirit; of how colors, suggestive forms and the mastery of chance transcend mere culture, and land right into the soul.”