Organized by Will Leung
October 5—November 12, 2022
Long Quan’s paintings underscore a stony appearance, all surfaces broadening within the image to meet at a single state of calm. There is a simplicity nearing naïveté to the subjects he paints, capturing that ephemeral, elusive state between movement and stillness to be found in landscapes and in objects that occupy them. In this new body of work, Quan seems to capture the light and breeze that moves in both nature and city sights, slowing down their presence into the stillness of an image. Through this process Quan develops a new way of seeing, dissolving the immediacy that otherwise lives in our relationship to images and delivering an uncanny sense of up-closeness in the restraint of his observation.
Quan’s reading of traditional Chinese poetry, philosophy, and painting have always influenced the style of his oil paintings. The pursuit of succinctness and the spaciousness found in what is left blank can be found in the prose and imagery of these Chinese art forms. It’s this aesthetic and rhetorical aspiration for simplicity that the artist endeavors to convey in his own works: “To me, it’s not finding a Chinese way in oil paintings, or building a connection in styles; it’s the best way of seeing and painting, to present the universal value of simplicity in everything that inspired me.”
Yet Quan doesn’t approach painting as a projection of an idealized pure and simple life or past. Instead, his work faces the tension between traditional and contemporary Chinese culture, pivoting on a crucial question around how traditional cultural values of thinking, feeling, and behaving might still form a basic link to a new future. And so Quan's paintings do not reach for an iconographic transformation—rather, they reside in a calm dignity, inside duration itself; a lucid merging of closeness with remoteness.
Long Quan (b. 1956) received a BA and MA from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China. Most recently, he has presented solo exhibitions at YANLAN Foundation, Beijing and YIMA Gallery, Chengdu. His work has been included in group exhibitions at National Art Museum of China, Yuan Art Center, Capital Museum in Beijing. Quan has served as a professor and Vice Chair at the Department of Painting at Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, and as Chair of the School of New Media Art and Design, Beihang University, Beijing. This marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York.
Allen & Eldridge is located downstairs at James Fuentes gallery, presenting atmospheric introductory exhibitions and collaborations. Following its first generation of programming from 2015-2017, the space relaunches in the summer of 2022 with a series of solo and group projects programmed by the gallery and invited curators, led by Laura Brown.