Selected Reviews on Lampo Leong’s Painting

 

Michael Knight, Senior Curator of Chinese Art, The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco:
•  It is a truism that in art freedom can only be achieved after attaining full command of one’s chosen form and style. Lampo Leong has taken the exploration for artistic freedom to a new level by first mastering the disciplines of Chinese calligraphy, ink painting, and Western style painting and combining them into his own artistic expression. The use of digitized imagery as part of his creative process is a new twist that reveals the resourcefulness of this accomplished artist and teacher. The influence of Chinese calligraphy and esthetics is quite clear in the dynamic forms and expressive brushwork of this new series. However, the materials and the colors speak of Leong’s exposure to modern Western art. The combination is truly his own.

Patricia Berger, Professor & Former Chair, Department of History of Art , University of California at Berkeley:
•  Leong’s work fits into a growing body of art produced by Chinese émigré artists (including such luminaries as Wenda Gu and Xu Bing), which focuses on an exploration of the production of meaning in its most basic sense…

Britta Erickson, PhD, Stanford University, Art Histroian/Independent curator, The Common Ground of Light and Gravity, Chicago:
•  At first glance, Lampo Leong’s abstract paintings of the last few years appear to be the spontaneous production of a fleeting moment, yet they actually represent the culmination of a lengthy creative process unique to the artist. Leong has done the seemingly impossible, inventing a new and original artistic technique that synthesizes oppositional forces of oil painting and ink painting, high-tech reproduction and low-tech individual artistry, abstract and written expression.

Amy Berk, Artweek, March 1998:
•  Leong’s Pyrophoric II, Molten Magma and Encountering Divinity erupt with deep reds, oranges and velvety blacks, multi-layered bombardments of color and form. These fiery offerings feature blown up and abstracted calligraphy both exploding and merging artistic histories and cultures.

Asian Week, Volume 19 No. 8, Oct. 9-15, 1997:

•  The unique artistic methods of Chinese artist Lampo Leong not only produce interesting and offbeat visual results, but also connect with deeper, soulful yearnings. The cool meditative hues and bold calligraphic strokes of his canvases inspire immediate reactions of energy, passion, and emotion.

Manni Liu (Former Director, Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco) & Jung Park, Asian Art News, Sept/Oct, 1997:
•  Leong’s spirituality permeates all the works in this series and is evident in every color, ink mark, texture, and shape—the paint dripping on the canvas, the texture of the pigments, and the energetic strokes weaving in and out of the background. In these works, light emanates from darkness, symbolizing spiritual rebirth . . . . The interplay of passion and calm exemplifies Leong’s Daoist belief that oppositional forces within the universe such as darkness and light, plenitude and emptiness, Yin and Yang, and heaven and earth, co-exist in harmony . . . .The fiery and passionate colors playing against serene and meditative qualities create a truly exciting interplay of positive and negative forces. The viewer may sense that stone or metal is melting and roaring inside and will erupt much like a volcano. Such dynamic imagery symbolizes the cycle of life—a continuous growth of our existence.
•  From his early mastery of classical Chinese landscape painting and calligraphy, we can see how atmospheric and mysterious backgrounds and wild-cursive Chinese calligraphy have always been key elements of his art. We can see how even though he has used these recurring elements, he has continually evolved them and shifted their functions . . . . In Contemplation • Forces, he has continued to expand upon his unique vision and method. Leong discovered that by reconstructing fragments of calligraphic strokes, he could bring new visual languages and challenges to abstract painting. To achieve these mystical qualities in the series, Leong utilized innovative techniques and cutting-edge technology . . . . By revealing the detailed and exquisite beauty of textures and elements through enlargement, Leong draws viewers into their own spiritual world. The microcosmic becomes a grand vision of the macrocosmic.
•  The most important contribution of Leong’s art is his process of deconstructing Eastern and Western art traditions and using them as elements to reconstruct the structure of his painting, thereby creating a whole new universal language . . . . He successfully uses the spontaneous energy and rhythm in such art forms to create his images . . . . In his latest works, calligraphy becomes so broken up, enlarged and multi-layered that only the strokes and fragments of the character remain, leaving just the abstract quality and sense of Asian culture. Atmospheric washes with light emanations jump to the foreground and become interwoven with the calligraphic elements. Such innovations show that Leong’s works are far more than a simple “East-Meets-West” combination. Rather, he absorbs each artistic influence, synthesizes them with his own life experience, and transforms them into a wholly unique individual expression.
•  Leong continues to pursue a dialogue of total communion with the grand universal spirit and uses the external natural world to trigger and unleash the inner world within every object and living creature. He believes that this inner space of mysterious light and serene spirit can radiate outward to the tangible world and expand to the entire cosmos. His vision is a synthesis of spirituality, art, science and technology that shapes the new millennium. Leong believes such synthesis signifies the dynamic life force . . . . Leong’s perception and talent make him one of the most promising artists today.

Pacific Heritage Museum, San Francisco, Shining Stars: Four Cultural Visionaries of Contemporary Painting:
•  In his latest series, Contemplation • Forces, Lampo Leong has created a visual language that incorporates the rhythm of Chinese calligraphy and the dynamic quality of Western abstract painting. He has continually used atmospheric backgrounds in brush painting and cursive Chinese calligraphy as evolving elements, shifting their functions to create images that are unfamiliar, yet paradoxically intimate. Departing from its literal meaning, and set against meditative hues or fiery colors, calligraphy is shattered and layered to generate depth and dynamic tension. Leong’s works breathe and celebrate energy beyond the visible world.
•  Lampo Leong has created a new visual language that incorporates the rhythm of Chinese calligraphy and the dynamic quality of Western abstract painting. Energies shift and explode to create serenity in an electric manner. Light emanates from darkness, symbolizing spiritual rebirth. Leong’s works breathe and celebrate the energy beneath the visible world.

Brenna Roth, Art Editor, Tulane Review, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA:
•  The work of Lampo Leong is technically innovative and masterful. He combines the skillful brushstrokes of Chinese calligraphy, both bold and subtle, with the experimentation of light and color of the Impressionists. The combination evokes the powerful force and rhythm present in nature, which is the subject of these paintings. The ability to lay open the raw emotions of humans through nature as articulated in such an amazing artistic style is truly amazing. There is no in between here. Each piece hits in its own unique way with its own forceful voice and demands attention and the desire to elevate and crush in the manner of a well-performed piece of music.
•  These most recent pieces speak to a more subtle nature. The boldness of the black calligraphic brushstrokes is held back, giving each piece an even stronger feeling of wanting to rush forth. Monologue is bold and violent like a volcanic eruption, while Velocity/Position? is more calm and subdued and gives the feeling of looking into a dark sky from under water. Fugitive Energies is full of the energy of a rocky surface being disrupted and emblazoned by meteors. Perihelion conveys the power and heat of the sun in an almost uncomfortable manner. This is the combustion and fire of the sun up close. The heat can almost be felt emanating from the painting.
•  Corona seems to generate heat that struck everyone immediately. The billowing reds that swallow the strong, black calligraphic strokes generate a stunning piece that captures the intensity of an amazing fire. Your abstract portrayal of the power of nature is always impressive.
•  The evolution of Lampo Leong’s work has been exciting and astounding, and these most recent paintings imply a direction in his work that will only continue to move and amaze.

Nanette Boileau, Curator, Saint Louis University Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO:
•  Lampo Leong's work is obviously visually strong; it hits you when you see it. You can tell that there are a lot of depths within a virtual reality.
•  Leong's mark is isolated, so you are able to focus on the marks within the picture plane.
•  Leong's work is pulled out of traditional Eastern philosophy, the way he was trained, and the way he understands the painting; but he has been able to move it into the contemporary world, which I think many Eastern artists are not able to bridge that gap. He has really been able to take that learning and turn it into something that is contemporary. His work shows the development of traditional Asian art that can be produced in contemporary society without repeating the same painting style over and over again.
•  He is able to play on both sides, he definitely stands out from the Western contemporary world as an artist plays within traditional and the modern. His work is very personal; it is about Lampo, his philosophy and who he is.

James T. Downey, Director, Legacy Art, Columbia, MO:
•  Leong's work is a synthesis of the traditional and the modern, a play of light and emotion, a dance between power and passion. The viewer is drawn into the painting by the elemental force of Leong's abstract vision, but then finds subtle layers of calligraphic glyphs and classical landscapes to explore and celebrate. It is little wonder that his work graces both public and private collections worldwide.