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Two Norman art exhibits showcase the people, landscapes and history of Chinese culture



A pair of exhibits at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman offers a glimpse into contemporary China and examines the changes that continue to alter the country's landscape and cultural identity.

"China: Insights" and "Hung Liu: Now and Then" both use art to explore the people and issues that have shaped modern-day China. "China: Insights" is a traveling exhibit organized and circulated by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, and Fred Jones is its first stop on a four-year tour around the country.

"The 'China: Insights' exhibit involves seven contemporary Chinese photographers and it has a theme of China in transition," said John Roth, director of North American operations and legal counsel for the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography. "It's the transition of the rural to the concrete and the urban. Some of the photographers focus on these small communities, and others on urban life with all of its unseemliness."

Featured are 150 images from photographers Chen Yuan Zhong, Hua Er, Jia Yu Chuan, Li Nan, Yang Yan Kang, Yu Haibo and Zhang Xinmin. The exhibit was curated by A.D. Coleman, a photography critic and historian, and Gu Zheng, associate professor in the School of Journalism at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Showing concurrently in an adjacent gallery is "Hung Liu: Now and Then," which features work by Hung Liu, an artist who layers historical images with traditional Chinese painting motifs and 3-D elements.

"They're very complementary shows," said Alan Atkinson, an adjunct professor in the art department at the University of Oklahoma. "They're both about how changes in China have impacted us and how changes here have impacted China."

Atkinson guest-curated "Hung Liu: Now and Then," and will give a talk on Friday in conjunction with "China: Insights" about the impact of consumer culture on contemporary Chinese life.

"? Allison Meier


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