Sublimity: Recent Works by Hou Beiren


12 过眼溪山 Mountains and Creeks like Old Acquaintance


NanHai Art presents:

Sublimity: Recent Works by Hou Beiren

Exhibition Dates: February 22 - March 29, 2014

Opening Reception: February 22, 2014 | 2:00-4:00 PM


January 28, 2014 (Millbrae, CA) -- NanHai Art is pleased to present Sublimity, a solo exhibition of recent works by 97-year-old artist Hou Beiren. Featuring 25 paintings completed between 2010 and 2013, Sublimity marks the inaugural exhibition for the newly renovated NanHai Art gallery. Born in Liaoning Province, China in 1917 and moving to the US in 1956 Hou came to establish an innovative art practice in the Bay Area known for incorporating Modernist and Abstract elements with the traditional brushwork of classical Chinese painting that he has mastered in a career spanning over 70 years. The gallery will host a reception for the artist from 2 to 4 PM on Saturday, February 22nd in the gallery’s exhibition hall (520 Broadway, Millbrae, CA 94030).

In his recent works, Hou demonstrates his command of both Chinese and Western traditions, combining rhythmic brushwork with bold colors applied in a gestural manner. Landscape motifs are met with larger ideas of representation demonstrated through his contemporary interpretation of the ‘splash ink and color’ school of painting, a style of the genre developed in collaboration with legendary painting master Chang Dai-chien in the 1960s. In the paintings, mountains and sky are reduced to their most elemental components while the more literal depictions of homes, people and villages are dwarfed by the awesome expanse of universe that supports these structures. The paintings become a portal for the viewer to enter a non-linear space equivalent to meditation; an aesthetic journey guided by the artist.

The exhibition’s title, Sublimity, references the ultimate standard by which Chinese masterpieces are acknowledged. In the tradition, a work is ranked by its ability to reveal the innate spirit beneath the physical form, rather than present material realism. It is this painting philosophy that ultimately informs Hou’s practice, combined with the artist’s stated influence of Abstract Expressionism, which also sought to present a universal understanding of the spiritual world. A poet and writer, in addition to visual artist, Hou is an artist in a unique position to contemplate and present the ethereal realm of the soul.


About the Artist

Hou Beiren was born in 1917 in Liaoning, China and graduated from Kyushu University, Japan in 1943. During his early years, he studied painting under Li Zhongchang, then with Huang Binhong and Zheng Shiqiao. In 1956, Mr. Hou moved to the U.S., where he currently lives and works in Los Altos, CA. Hou’s works have been exhibited and collected throughout the US and internationally, including by institutions including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Jose Museum of Art, National Art Museum of China, Nanjing Museum, Zhejiang Art Museum, and Austria Museum of Modern Art. In 2004, the City of Kunshan in Jiangsu, China built Hou Beiren Art Museum to house 300 pieces of Hou’s donated works and rare collections. In 2013, Liaoning Art Museum established the Hou Beiren and Zhang Yunqin Gallery.


About NanHai Art

Founded in San Francisco in 1986, NanHai Art is currently located in Millbrae, California, providing an easy access for the Greater San Francisco and Silicon Valley art community. NanHai Art focuses on introducing major artworks by contemporary Chinese artists that reflect the unique aesthetics of Chinese art while transcending cultural and artistic boundaries with a contemporary sensibility.



NanHai Art

510 Broadway 

Suite 301

Millbrae, CA 94030

NanHai Art is a 5 min. walk from the Millbrae BART and Caltrain stations, for drivers take the Millbrae Ave. exit on US-101.



Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM-5 PM, and by appointment.



Alice Zhang, NanHai Art

p. 650-259-2100