Edd Enders has returned from two weeks in China full of gratitude. He went for a special art exhibit, exchange and group exhibition, “West on the Left, East on the Right,” in Shanghai with three other Livingston Montana artists; Parks Reece, Joe Fay and Abram Boise. They are the first four American artists represented by the international group, 188 Art who hosted their visit and showed the group various art studios and cultural and natural wonders in Shanghai and Jiangxi province as well as providing opportunities for the four artists to work in the 188 Art porcelain studio and do some plein air art.
The group art exhibition included twenty contemporary Chinese artists at 188 Art Studio in Shanghai and was well attended. The visit was in conjunction with the Yellowstone Asia Initiative, which brought an exhibit of contemporary artists from China to their only US showing in Livingston, Montana. As former Montana senator Max Baucus is now the Chinese Ambassador, it’s only natural to develop trade and cultural exchange ties between China and Montana and art is a universal language.
Enders sent twenty paintings to China, half to be kept in businessman and gallery owner Zhuping Yan’s Studio 188 art gallery’s permanent collection and the other ten for sale. Enders hopes they will resonate with Chinese art buyers and lovers. He very much admired the art by the many Chinese artists he saw on the trip, “The contemporary art was very high quality and I was especially impressed by the porcelain art. I was also happy to see work that addressed the environment.” Enders says it was a great, great learning experience and every day he encountered, observed and learned something new on the trip. Reflecting on the experience, he predicts, “All the art I saw and the visual stimuli will have a strong effect on my development as an artist.”
One of his favorite parts of the experience was being based in Shanghai and he enjoyed the city’s modernity, international flair, and the mix of modern and traditional architecture. He was also impressed by the hospitality they experienced, “people were fabulous; very courteous, generous, open, and seemed pleased to have us there.” He wishes he had been able to communicate with people more, as the language was a barrier. “The culture, language and environment are so different from any I’ve been exposed to,” Enders says. He enjoyed the cuisine and tried many dishes completely new to him and was fascinated by how the cuisine varied from region to region and how different it all was from stereotypical dishes found in American Chinese restaurants. He appreciated the affordability of the food and goods and often saw things in shops and restaurants he’d never seen before, so every day was a new learning experience.
Enders found Chinese gangster films and soap operas intriguing as well. While traveling inland to visit rural areas, he was fascinated as Shanghai’s modern conveniences, infrastructure and industrialization receded, “I didn’t see any mechanized farming; everything was being done by hand,” he observes. He was concerned about the air and water quality, especially the severity inland.
Enders concludes, “I am very grateful and appreciate the
opportunity to experience China, learn about the culture, and especially the contemporary and traditional Chinese art forms which are so different than Western art.” He gives special thanks to Zhuping, Julie and the 188 Art staff, and the Chinese artists he met. Edd will be working with 188 Art to bring an exhibit of contemporary Chinese art to Livingston, Montana at the Danforth Gallery summer 2015.