To sum up his achievement in oil painting during the past 20 years,
Chen Shudong will hold his personal exhibition at the National Art
Museum of China in May, 2014. Consequently, this picture album has
selected quite a number of his representative paintings. For a
middle-aged artist from the army, both the exhibition and the album
reveal Chens efforts in artistic exploration and creation during the
process of Chinas social reform and rise of new culture.

  Chen is an oil painter who has grown up during the period of Chinas
reform and opening-up. With a deep love toward oil painting, he persists
to express his ideals on society, nature and life through painting. On
the one hand, he immerses himself in the study of traditional oil
painting, borrowing from the art creation of Chinese older generation;
on the other hand, he pursues his own artistic style by paying attention
to his individual feeling and perspective.

  As a military artist, Chen knows well his responsibilities, sparing
no effort in understanding the life of soldiers and depicting the
accomplishments of Chinas revolutionary history and the Peoples
Liberation Army since the 20th Century. He is passionate about his art
pursuit and manages to illustrate the revolutionary history and PLAs
splendor in the new era. During the past 20 years, he has been
concentrating on the creation of both monumental works and small pieces
with determination and sincerity. All of them are pure in spirit with
prominent rhythm and harmony.

  When planning the exhibition and editing the album, we decided to
divide Chens works into four chapters.

  n Revolutionary Passion collects Chens large-scale works about
revolution history and military subjects. These paintings unfold
historic scenarios with broad historic perspectives ranging from
battlefield to victories, from heroic figures to ordinary people
welcoming the liberation. All these works recreate historical events
with the focus on historic scenarios, battlefield, arduous life and high
spirits of soldiers. They especially display the unique characteristics
of Chens group image building.

  n Footprints of Great Men collects the achievements of his numerous
visits to revolutionary bases during the past years. An utmost
characteristic of these paintings is to trace the footprints of the
revolutionary pioneers and to conduct spiritual dialogues with history.
Another characteristic is to find perspectives for his paintings from
sceneries especially the historical architectures. Such creation is both
authentic and innovative, displaying the diverse connotations behind the
historical heritage and showing the existence of human beings in empty
space. He directs his sketch from nature with creational consciousness
while forms his creational painting methodology in sketch painting from
nature. This provides valuable experience for modern historic scenery
paintings.

  n Passion for Plateauand Visits to Mountainsrecord Chens numerous
visits to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and other famous mountains. He
observes the nature with enthusiastic passion, expressing his immediate
feelings with pure and direct techniques, and grasping the lively
existence of people and sceneries. Focusing on the forms and meanings of
life for his paintings, he brings into full play the light sense, tones,
brush stroke and texture to express his feelings, giving vitality to his
paintings.

  Analyzing all his painting works, we can see clearly his broadness,
multi-dimension and organic integration in the themes of his arts. The
themes, from historic to realistic, from characters to sceneries, though
varying a lot, are threaded with consistent emotions and inborn logical
feelings.

  Eventually, the feelings of artist must be expressed through
artistic languages. Chen lives in China but borrows the attainments from
all over the world. Based on the style of realism, he manages to adopt
the modern arts of the West and form his own style. After long time of
reference, absorption and study, he paints with great facility. His
works focus on the whole structure with forceful trend, deep tone and
strong colors. With black keynote and brilliant light and shadow, the
different levels of colors and free touch of brushes has formed
dignified visual symphony on the canvases. Echoes of Time and Tide, the
title of both the exhibition and the album, abounds with historical
sense of modern society, which is the result of Chens long-term
contemplation and his aspirations to serve the times. Time and Tide
brings him back to the thoughts on history and nature for keeping the
footprints of time by visual arts. Echoes are the transcendence to
current surges of time. Chen has sensed the echoes of the power and
turned them into visual arts with colorful style. In the field of Chinas
modern oil paintings, the uniqueness of Chens works is a special
landscape. He is still at his prime time of art creation. The road of
his art will extend to a promising future.

  Fan Dian

  Curator of National Art Museum of China,

  And Vice President of Chinese Artists Association

  April, 2014

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