Lu Song’s mystical landscapes in eerily dreamy tones have a character capable of elevating the viewer to a state of contemplative transcendence.
In “Rusty,” (2013) an unidentifiable piece of rusted decoration lays forgotten in a lime green field. In the distance, ominous trees form a dense forest that yearns to dominate an adjacent, nondescript architectural form. The painting is exemplary of Lu’s thematic concern with man and nature. Having earned his MFA in Painting at Wimbledon College of Art in London, Lu’s aptitude for oil painting is evident. However, Lu’s use of the traditional medium is unique for his ability to achieve strong sentiment with reference to the contemporary moment. In works like “Rusty,” Lu confronts the viewer with an image seen in everyday life, but places a solemn lens on the otherwise ordinary image, therefor creating a dreamlike atmosphere and effectively provoking thought. This same effect is generated in works that contain figures, such as “The Worst Fear and the Best Fantasy.” Dressed in a white shirt, a bearded man sits with his elbows on his knees as he peers into the distance at an unknown subject. Removed from the viewer, one cannot identify his expression, and thus the environment creates the mood. Set within a woodland at water’s edge, the solitary man appears pensive, like a Romantic-aged explorer.
Other artworks like “Shelter” (2013) demonstrate the formidable presence of nature through abstraction. In this large-scale artwork, a green mass fills the picture plane. Variations in shading create texture, while the lack of clearly defined outlines animates the shrubbery, so as to create an effect of dynamic movement. The eye is drawn toward the center, where a deep darkness creates a void in which one imagines the potential for either danger or serenity to exist. The viewer must decide if the space is one of refuge or peril. It remains clear however, that the energy of the vegetation is grounded by strong verticals which simultaneously push to the foreground and recede into the background, further emphasizing motion. Lu’s melancholy dreamscapes do not reference particular locations, and thus act as universal and timeless locations, accessible and mysterious to all who encounter them.
Text: Roxanne Goldberg