Artist brings Western, Eastern elements together in artwork
Sophia Hurst, a painter and art teacher from London, held a solo exhibition titled Mother/ Creator in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, in mid-April.
The exhibition at J Art Gallery in Sofitel Shenyang Lido Hotel centered on the theme of motherhood and what it means to be a creator. It is one of more than 20 exhibitions the British artist has staged.
A week later, Hurst gave a 45-minute bilingual lecture on the purpose of art at the same venue, with noted artists from the local cultural community joining the audience and discussion.
Hurst, born in 1972, has lived in China for more than a decade.
After she left the United Kingdom in 1995, she taught English at Beijing Language and Culture University, later moving to Shengyang, her second home.
In the Northeast China city, Hurst started her painting career and also married a local who supports her job. Now the couple have two daughters.
As a British artist creating in the context of Chinese culture, she combines techniques and thoughts from the West and the East in her artwork.
Her painting searches for the meaning of life and a reflection of the world, as well as the essence of humans, critics said.
Hurst said she believes that art does not come from artists — as an outgrowth of the creation process, “art comes from an external source”.
She explores a lot of issues in her works, including how to maintain harmony and unity while preserving diverse personalities; how to live spiritually in a material world; how to make art uplifting, healing and true; what the purpose of pain is; and how people can understand themselves better through art.
Working with these questions makes Hurst’s works uplifting, challenging and thought-provoking, critics said.
She usually starts to work with a piece of writing or a provoking thought from daily life, and she will sketch that down and try to express it using watercolors, propylene or sculpture, Hurst told Chinese media.
She said she was proud that she sold an artwork to a woman who had suffered a grave accident, because the buyer felt the painting expressed the way she had been suffering at that particular time.
The aquarelle named shows the outline of a human torso, with a big hole punched out right at the center. A smaller figure, its head slightly tilted toward the ground, stands entirely independent, were it not for some thin strings holding it back, the delicate threads turning into restraining chains.
“This is the reason I paint: to connect with others,” Hurst said.
Sophia Hurst, an artists from Britain, believes “art comes from an external source”.