Qin Yifeng is a young Shanghai-based artist who has chosen to explore a very distinctive and completely abstract method of artistic expression. Paintings in his “Line Field” series are characterized by overall compositions of vertical stripes bisected by layers of curvy horizontal forms in a variety of patterns and colours. The immediate impression is of the warp and weft of woven fabric, or sometimes of a bamboo grove.
Born in Shanghai in 1961, Qin was fortunate that at the time of his undergraduate studies at the Fine Arts College of Shanghai in the early 1980s, Chinese artists were suddenly enjoying a new freedom and also an influx of publications on Western art. Qin Yifeng was particularly interested in Abstract Expressionism and in how elements of this could be combined with the Chinese tradition. In 1983 he attended an exhibition of abstract art by the Paris-based master Zhao Wuji and was inspired to follow the same route.
Jackson Pollock in his drip paintings of the late 1940s and early 1950s treated the whole canvas equally, so that there was no focus on any particular area. The same was true of the Colour Field Painting of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, where the field of the painting was more important than internal structures in the composition. Qin Yifeng can be seen as the Chinese response to this idea, though his allover patterns originate in the columns of characters in traditional Chinese calligraphy.
Qin Yifeng has said, “The basic form and foundation of all Chinese characters is a line.” He remembers from his childhood that the first form of writing was with simple lines and now he is using this concept in his art. However, his compositions are far from simple: although there may be some resemblance to Chinese calligraphy, they are complex and decorative, with thick layerings of acrylic paint. The intricate interweaving of vertical and horizontal elements, as well as a strict attention to subtle colour harmonies, creates a rhythmic harmony and a feeling of balance in his work.