The Main Library in Salt Lake City launched a new art exhibit on Saturday. Titled “Chinese Painting by Yaodong Hu,” the exhibit features 34 pieces, including 30 paintings by the notable Shanghai artist, as well as awards bestowed upon him by the Chinese government and a book featuring his work. A public reception was held on Saturday evening, with a crowd turning out to support the artist, including many Chinese Salt Lake valley residents. Hu himself was on hand for the meet and greet, often stopping to engage the guests and converse effortlessly in their native language.
Hu paints in a traditional Chinese style, with wildlife, landscapes, and other elements of the natural world typically serving as subjects for his paintings.
“I try to express the…beauty of human life,” he says, speaking through a translator. “My inspiration comes from God. I always feel this way.”
He began studying the art of Chinese painting 15 years ago and is now widely regarded as a master of the style, having been featured in group and solo exhibitions, as well as a number of publications, including the book The Painting Art of Yaodong Hu, published in 2007.
In his native China, Hu has received a number of accolades for his work. He was appointed as an Associate Director of the Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Research Institute, and has had titles conferred upon him by the Chinese government, including “The Republic’s Artist” and “The Republic’s Vanguard in Art.”
Hu also expresses thanks toward the United States and Utah governments, saying that he has been greatly supported by both in having his work brought to Salt Lake. He’s happy to see an increasing interest in, and awareness of, Chinese culture in America and is pleased to be able to contribute to that awareness. For him, it’s very important for the world to be exposed to Chinese art and other elements of Chinese life, as he believes that there’s a great deal that can be learned from it.
Howard Brough, coordinator for the exhibit, explained that Hu’s portfolio had been chosen during their twice-yearly review in which they determine which artists’ work they will bring into the library. The portfolio was chosen among many others that had been submitted, making the exhibit one that is exclusive to Utah in the United States. He says that the Salt Lake City Library is pleased to host Hu’s work and he hopes that valley residents will come out to take a look.
“With our exhibits we try to provide a variety of mediums, a variety of styles. It’s our hope that this is another way of presenting information to people,” he says. “We have a book collection and that’s the traditional role of libraries, but we see other ways of providing information to people and enriching their lives, and art is one of those ways.”
“Chinese Painting by Yaodong Hu” runs through March 26 at The City Library, 210 East 400 South Salt Lake City.