Layers of impasto blur portraits and landscapes in Li Songsong’s fragmented oil paintings

Inasmuch as

Art

#China #impasto #memory #oil painting #painting #portraits

November 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

“I am what I am” (2020), 120 x 100 centimeters. All images © Li Songsong, shared with permission

Chinese artist Li Songsong (previously) obscures portraits and larger landscapes with thick strokes of oil paint. Her textured, impasto works are based on found photographs or imagined scenes, and each conveys a narrative tied to ordinary moments or a larger shared story. Varying the extent of distortion in each track, Songsong tells Colossal that questioning personal identity is central to his practice. “The cultural and historical aspects are related to China, and the language and expressions are mine,” he explains.

Songsong’s recent works include a tender scene with an officer and his dog, a portrait of a hopeful pilot, and a panoramic shot featuring a crowd with hundreds of unnamed faces. The richly layered pieces speak to the fuzziness and fragmentary nature of memories and stories, especially those interpreted from a distance, and come into sharp focus when viewed from further away with a squint.

Based in Beijing, Songsong is currently working on a new series of works, which you can follow on their website.

“Blondi” (2019), 210 x 180 centimeters

“Blondi” (2019), 210 x 210 centimeters

“Tea for two” (2020), 210 x 210 centimeters

“No more tears” (2020), 100 x 100 centimeters

“You haven’t looked at me that way for years” (2020), 170 x 280 centimeters

“Three decades” (2019), 210 x 420 centimeters

#China #impasto #memory #oil painting #painting #portraits

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