ARTNUTRI GALLERY
Yu-Zhen, Xiao
Yu-Zhen, Xiao is currently a lacquer painting teacher in Heilongjiang College of Engineering and the Director of Heilongjiang Province Lacquer Arts Council. Xiao grew up in the cold northern border town of Nehe. He was influenced by his father from an early age, which resulted in his pursuit of art study. He fell in love with the unique artistic charm of lacquer art after seeing it the first time at age 20. Xiao learned under the tutelage of the lacquer painting master, Ze-Guo, Zhang, a professor of the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts. To achieve the dream of creating lacquer paintings depicting ice and snow, Xiao concentrated on studying and creating this type of art for 15 years.

Lacqueware was invented by the Chinese. A lacquer bow dating back to 8,000 years was unearthed at the ruins of the cross-lake bridge at Xiaoshan in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. This region can be called, "the source of lacquer" in China. The red lacquer bowl that was unearthed in 1978 is a representative relic from the Neolithic age. China's lacquerware works have repeatedly won gold medals in the Panama Exposition and the International Fairs in Chicago, Paris, Berlin, etc.

Lacquer paintings originated from lacquerware, and it became an independent type of painting in 1984 when it impressed many people at national exhibitions. The tedious process of lacquer painting is unmatched by any kinds of painting, and the production period for such works is calculated in years. The entire creative process includes cloth 
mounting, ash scraping, lacquer covering, making mosaic, dusting, Maki-e, repainting, polishing, cleaning, glassing, etc. Forty to fifty procedures are needed to create a lacquer painting, and this number can exceed one hundred in some cases.

The raw material of lacquer painting is natural Chinese lacquer. Xiao applied eggshell mosaic techniques to create lacquer paintings that depict ice and snow in northern regions. Xiao uses the natural colors and texture of eggshells cleverly to organically combine them with the material of lacquer. His inventive mosaic creation techniques contain the spirit of the northern rivers and mountains and have become a part of him, and his northern ice and snow-themed lacquer paintings are quite unique in the lacquer painting circles in China.

In 2004, his work, "Thinking by the Storm" won the Excellence Award in the "Tenth National Art Exhibition." His "Overlooking and Listening from the Mountain," "Snow and the Azure Heaven," and "Snow Falling in the Mundane World," lacquer painting works, which depicts northern regional customs, have won several gold, silver and bronze awards, as well as the "Phoenix Award" in the authoritative exhibitions held by the Chinese Artists Association and Chinese Lacquer Painting Art Committee. When he is teaching, he adopts a unique "factory-style" approach, which integrates teaching, research, and production to promote northern lacquer paintings that depict ice and snow.
 
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