By Michael Nock, Founder of the Nock Art Foundation and Chairman of NockArt Gallery
One of the benefits of overseeing the Nock Art Foundation (the "Foundation") artist residency program is that I have the privilege to spend time with some wonderful artists and visit incredible places in China. I established the Foundation in 2013 with a mandate to bring great artists to my home town of Hong Kong and create artistic and cultural links with China. It is my hope that this residency will generate stronger relationships with artist communities from overseas and at the same time produce art that inspires a fresh vision of some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
NockArt Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of work from the third residency, entitled Peaks and Valleys. It incorporates the paintings of three artists who visited Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) with me in March 2015: Tim Allen, Steve Lopes and Dapeng Liu.
Tim and I had been on a number of artist trips before Yellow Mountain, including a memorable journey to Central Australia in 2013, and to Zhangjaijie in China in November 2014. Steve and I had likewise taken part in painting trips, including to Gallipoli in 2013, after which we participated in a group show commemorating the 100-year anniversary of Australia’s ill-fated World War One campaign. I met Dapeng in his Sydney home and thought he would make a terrific addition to the group, providing a more ‘local’ perspective as an artist who grew up in China but has since adopted Australia as his home.
Our trip to Yellow Mountain was a success in many ways, as the work presented in this exhibition attests.
We started with a road trip from Hong Kong to Shenzhen where we picked up some art supplies before flying to Huangshan. We then hired a driver to take us to the first of two cable cars that were the only mode of transport to the top of the mountain, where we stayed in a hotel for a few days.
Once we reached the summit there was no way of getting around other than on foot. From this point we each had to carry our gear up and down the series of paths weaving around the mountain top and leading to vantage points where the artists would establish themselves and paint en plein air. The sight of foreign artists attracted large crowds of local tourists to stare and pass comment. This prompted the three artists to seek ever more difficult places to paint.
Tim worked in water-based acrylics, Steve used oils and Dapeng used water brush pens filled with different coloured inks. Many of the small sketches they made on the mountain were worked up into larger paintings in the Wong Chuk Hang studio in Hong Kong after the trip.
Peaks and Valleys showcases the work of three very different artists who each had to adapt to new landscapes and push themselves beyond their comfort zones on the mountain. The result is three distinctive yet complimentary series of works that each tell their own ‘story’ of Huangshan.
It is with great pleasure that NockArt Gallery presents this special exhibition.