February 28, 2015

Arts and Culture

Last fall, the Wright Museum of Art played host to 15 striking ink-wash paintings by the celebrated Chinese landscape painter Master Zhang Jin.

Yikang Luo’14 brought both the artist and his work to Beloit as part of an honors term project that combined his interests in business and art.

Master Zhang was on campus for two weeks in October and taught an art seminar, with Yikang acting as translator. His artwork was exhibited through December, including a painting he made of the Rock River, which he donated to the college.

With the help of Daniel Youd, associate professor of Chinese language and literature, Yikang chose Master Zhang to come to campus. Both Yikang and Youd believed that Zhang’s fusion of painting styles would be particularly accessible to American students.

“When viewing Master Zhang’s paintings students were able to see immediately that he is in dialogue with two artistic traditions—Chinese and Western,” says Youd. “They could discern the impact of impressionism, modernism, and abstract expressionism in his works.”

For Yikang, the artist’s presence helped to bridge cultural boundaries between Beloit students and the art in front of them.

“A lot of Western [people] and even Chinese native speakers complain that it is so hard to understand an ink-wash painting, or, generally speaking, some artworks,” he said. “From my point of view, they just need to understand the culture. And that is what Master Zhang brought to Beloit College.”

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  • Sustainability Tree illustration.

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