Floating Clouds epitomizes the transcendent universe of Liu Dan and is a timeless tribute to traditional Chinese culture, philosophy, and the spiritual practice of rock contemplation. When painting a stone, he views his task as that of a portraitist. His challenge is to uncover the essence of the object – its history, provenance and spirit. Each portrait of the stone reveals the inherently abstract nature of the stone itself. Admired in China for their strange and otherworldly qualities, scholar's rocks are perceived as complex and elegant with patterns and textures that create an enticing surface. They are appreciated as a representation of the larger natural world and as part of the greater the cosmic universe. In a similar manner, Liu's paintings are less a representation of the depicted object but a meditation on the artist's experience of engagement.
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