While the three featured artists, Jizi (1941-2015, Longguan, Hebei), Su Xinping (b. 1960, Jining, Inner Mongolia) and Weng Yunpeng (b. 1964, Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province), all explore contemporary issues and modes of expression, they also maintain strong roots in their cultural heritage. Each artist expresses this in different ways. Whether it be through references to traditional Chinese landscape painting, memories of a childhood homeland, or a commentary on the changing environment contrasting old and new, all three have a strong connection to their cultural and physical landscape.
Jizi, as the oldest artist in the grouping, has the more traditional approach. He uses an ink and brush technique similar to what was used in traditional Chinese landscape painting called shanshui (山水). However, Jizi moves away from the compositional rules of shanshui and uses a more surrealistic approach to his landscapes. He is very much influenced by Taoist thought when approaching a work, specifically focusing on the ideas of harmony and balance. In his own words, “I seek as an artist the unification of Heaven and Earth and Man, insight to the Dao, the material universe and myself.” (Brubaker)