The Pilgrimage Continues

            Tradition and Discipline below, Clarity and Vision above. Describing Andrew Lui’s creative process is like taking a page from the I Ching. For it is more Chinese philosophy than the vast artistic tradition of that culture that imbues his paintings. Sparse and strikingly contemporary, Lui’s compositions proclaim their own visual territory while his brushstroke harks at the fluidity of eastern calligraphy. Admittedly at “the crossroads of post-modernity”, he has found his own voice, and from the plethora of personal and artistic experiences produced a series of works that opt for the lyrical and the aesthetic. Having honed his art over three decades, he is in a new phase, and while the pilgrimage continues uninterrupted, the pilgrim has changed. Highly sensitive, and enomoured of quality, this artist has no trouble attracting collectors. His acrylic and ink on rice paper paintings are unusually accessible while remaining of the highest artistic calibre. Forever the humanist, Lui has not lost his interest in higher ideals, and the duality that lives in all things continues to be present in his paintings. Whether it is the dialogue between east and west, or between anguish and bliss, the artist’s internal confrontation expresses itself on canvas in images of profound sensibility and mastery of plastic demands.

            Like most artists fascinated with the passage of time, Lui’s choice of title for his series is self-explanatory. We are witnessing emotions in movement, fleeting before our eyes in a colourful parade of oblique forms, at once animal and alien. And there is no point seeking references to other artists and styles, for having absorbed it all, Lui is in full command of his own unique visual lexicon. His eponymous Pilgrimage I leads as it were into the series, a horizontal composition dominated by a stylized turquoise horse and rider in the company of earthy abstracted forms. A perfectly composed visual discourse is taking place between the lines and strokes of colour, a signature found in all of Lui’s works. This harmony amid chaos also marks the painting titled East, West which picks up the visual equestrian theme but breaks the composition into two without actually splitting the image. A subtle tension underlies this otherwise colourful picture, a deeper message, perhaps a longing for union.

            In Triumph, what we feel is in fact what we see: a joyous swirl of movement, a vertical explosion of pure colour, and all held in check by a delicate network of lines, the artist’s indelible imprint. Lui’s true sophistication shines through most, however, in his abstracted paintings, compositions that entrance and soothe. With poetic titles like Graphia Mongolia, Spring Rain and Woven Love, they invite the viewer into a realm where the delicacy of gesture embraces the strength of vision. These works speak in a soft yet decisive voice, they weave a unique tapestry where light and shadow follow the brushstroke in quiet unison.

            To the untrained eye, Lui’s canvas is a dance of shapes and colour, a concerto in subtle tones, engaging the visual senses in a poetic seduction. But deeper, beyond the prancing horses and sensuously entangled forms, behind the palette of turquoise and ochre lays the emotional world of Andrew Lui. A landscape marked by both suffering and ecstasy, and infused with a profound understanding of the human experience.

Dorota Kozinska