Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 Shanghai Zhujiajiao Biennial Opening

International field award winners, left to right:  Anna Ivanova, Joseph Zbukvic,
Alexander Kryushyn, Ross Paterson, Dean Mitchell, Andrew Kish (not shown: Charles Reid)

I returned to Shanghai yet again in late November to join fellow judges, award winners, and guests for the 2012 Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolour Biennial opening ceremonies. Besides the excitement of the event and seeing so many incredible watercolors on display, I got a chance to meet up with many friends, colleagues, and a few artists I have admired but not met until now: Anna Ivanova, Andrew Kish, Alexander Kryushyn, Dean Mitchell, Ross Paterson, Joseph Zbukvic, and of course Jo Jo and Xidan Chen, Janine Gallizia, Tony Hunt, Ong Kim Seng, Liu Yi, and too many others to name. Most all of the big names in watercolor are represented in the show, it's quite impressive.

We were all treated with a level of hospitality and respect that has become a hallmark of this exhibition. Paid flights, five-star hotel, lavish meals, and tours. There was a fantastic day in the city, another lunch in the revolving restaurant forty floors above Shanghai, Yu Gardens, and a night on the Bund. The opening ceremonies took place outside the Zhujiajiao Cultural Center where about half of the show is hung. The other half is at the Quanhua Watercolour Gallery. Buses shuttled visitors back and forth, though I unfortunately didn't have time to make it over to the gallery.

Congratulations to the sixteen award winners - eight from the international field (six pictured above) and eight from the Chinese field (see photo below). There is a fantastic catalog available from the Biennial website:

Shey-shey to the organizers for giving me the privilege to judge this unprecedented exhibition once again. Joseph Zbukvic said it perfectly in his speech on behalf of the artists when he spoke about the famous bridge of Zhujiajiao as a metaphor, illustrating the connection between East and West via the art of watercolor. We all hope to build on that, and bring the medium to new heights of awareness and critical acceptance.


Enjoy Painting Catalonia said...

Congratulations Nick for this wonderful post and sharing this unique experience. I know you were one of the initiators of it and you have done a good job spreading the news.

The fact that this biennial has had thousands of entries of the highest quality says it all. The level of the judges so very high.

Thanks and will see you in Barcelona, Spain, next September!!

Angela Barbi, EPC Art Courses

Nancy Lee said...

What a wonderful show and experience Nick! Very envious. And I'm so excited to see just how much watercolor is loved and appreciated by the Chinese. They sure do it up right! Maybe this is the beginning of greater things for watercolorists who seem to have been left out of much of the "appreciation" of accepted "meaningful" art here in the west. (Sorry for all the quotation marks.. :) )

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks for all the photos of the show - enjoyed seeing it without having to travel that far :) Congratulations, again, on being asked to judge the show - what a task that must have been as all the paintings are of such high quality.

georgia Mansur said...

Thank you Nick for sharing the photos of this incredible event~ Bob Wade told me yesterday his catalogue arrived and it is fabulous. Well done to all organizers and artists involved~ so nice to see watercolour being recognized and respected for the high art form that it is. : D Happy holidays to you and your family!

cardesin said...

Thanks Nick, for all the work of creating a post so magnificent, spectacular images!
Thank you very much and see you enjoyed it :)

Nick said...

Angela - I'm looking forward to it!

Nancy - we can't wait around for people here to get the message, must get out there and be pro-active (can't stand that expression, but...). The next year I hope to take my own game to another level with new representation and concentration on my painting. Cutting down on the workshops drastically.

Rhonda - it is a long journey there, three times was enough for me. I skipped Nanjing, but really wish I would have gone. High quality show - you should see some of the big names that didn't make it in, geez.

Georgia - I understand it's always been respected in Asia, it's the rest of the world that has relegated it to second class status. I believe the medium's future is in Asia, but there is still a small army of western watercolorists who are doing innovative work that demands acknowledgment.

Juan - and of course you are one of them. ^^ As one of several judges, the winners did not fully reflect my choices (nor anyone else's, I imagine...such is the nature of competitions). Among others, I voted for you, Lars Lerin, and Hou Wei, and wanted to include those three paintings in this post.

RH Carpenter said...

Nick, just saw your posts in the latest Watercolor Artist magazine - you, sir, have a way with words! Perhaps that comes from your musician's background. Anyway, I learned a bit from reading your comments on winning pages - and enjoyed seeing your painting of Tsarina at the end of the mag. Happy Christmas and Merry New Year to you and your family :)

Rajeev Mohan said...

Nick, Thank you for providing a wonderful glimpse of the magnificent exhibition. Delighted to know about the respect and appreciation for the Watercolour medium from the organizers.

Nick said...

Rhonda - my mom is a respected poet, my brother a professional writer for all kinds of stuff, but it was my father who really showed me how to the say the most with the least. Glad you approve, thanks!

Rajeev - your side of the world is where the future of the medium is, IMO. Keep working bigger, get more ambitious, pay attention to the oil painters, not other watercolorists.