Xu Liang was born in Changde, Hunan province and is a graduate of the Mural Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He now works and lives in Beijing, and he is a member of the C5Art Art Institute.
The hyperrealism present in his graphite drawings could be mistaken for a real depiction.
This piece has the feel of a double-exposed photograph, adopting a classical Western sketching method based on three colors and using warm-colored paper. Taking a fixed approach that is suitable for portraiture requires a high level of skill, just as it is efficient and capable of producing beautiful works. Only when working with the dark colors will Xu make adjustments according to the content of the painting. A fascinating method of painting.
The majority of Xu Liang’s pieces are oil paintings. However, in his view, creating artwork on paper is a more convenient way of sketching, outlining, and experimenting. Working on paper as opposed to canvas, Xu can adjust and account for mistakes or challenging parts in a portrait, such as a strand of hair or other subtle details.
Xu Liang also occasionally draws landscapes. Standard landscape scenes, an ocean view, flowers, or mountains, become abstract representations under Xu’s hand as he uses the texture of graphite to blend different shades into one.
When talking about his understanding of gender, Xu Liang humorously calls himself a “typical straight guy”, therefore taking greater interest in women as the subjects of his pieces.
In 2013, Xu and two other painter friends of his, Yuan Xiaoguang and Zhang Hanpu, collaborated on a graphite piece entitled “City”.
According to Xu Liang, graphite is a medium that complements a city like Beijing – grey, drab, cold and lonely. “City” was created as the three artists approached graduation and began to feel the financial and emotional burden of settling down in Beijing and buying a house. To express these insurmountable pressures, as well as the large scale of the city, the three settled on graphite pencil – by no means a small undertaking for a canvas measuring 1.07 by 4.5 meters.
During the process, each of the three collaborators was responsible for a particular section of the canvas. Communication was essential, as conflicts often arose. Each day, the artists wouldn’t stop working until they made what they considered good progress.
“City” stands in contrast to most of Xu Liang’s other graphite works, which are largely portraits.
Currently, “City” is still unfinished. We eagerly await its completion, as well as its formal unveiling by Xu Liang and his team.