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Local Artist Kathy Thurston New Art Show Featuring Chinese Gongbi Art, "Ancient Art, New Expression" on display in March/April at APCC

“Ancient Art, New Expressions,” is an  art exhibit devoted to the contemporary expression of Chinese Gongbi Art with nature as its subject. Gongbi  is an ancient detailed art style done on rice paper in Chinese Ink and color with bamboo brushes. A detailed sketch is made and it is traced onto a thin piece of rice paper. Outlining and shading of the subject matter with black ink is the foundation for the  painting. Then color is applied in layers using Chinese or Korean colors. The layering process develops dimensionality and results in a rich luminous quality. When the painting is complete, it is wet mounted on Mulberry paper. Smaller paintings are mounted by the artist. Larger paintings are taken to Seattle to a Chinese Gallery in the International District to be mounted by Mr. Zuolie Deng, an artist in his own right, who is a master of paper mounting.

Gongbi  painting is an ancient form of meticulous detail brush painting developed over two thousand years ago by women in the  Chinese concubines. Women were often confined within the walls of compounds in the emperor’s palace. During that time women were only allowed to roam the compound or go out into the garden.  Because of this, many arts and crafts were developed including  Gongbi Style painting.

Similarly, Kathy’s art is a westernized interpretation of this style, focusing on nature that she observes during her adventures, hiking in the mountains or kayaking on the waters of Puget Sound. Sometimes she is simply inspired by what she sees in her garden. Each painting is done after she photographs the world around her and researches the subject or history of an area.

 In 2007 Kathy traveled to China on a cultural exchange sponsored by APCC.  When she returned she was invited to join Gongbi painting classes  at TCC, Gig Harbor taught by Patsy Surh O’Connell.  Patsy Surh O’Connell mentored Kathy for several years.  Workshops from  Lian Zhen, Joe Garcia and other artists have also influenced her style.  She has recently has won awards in art shows in Tacoma and Gig Harbor and her work has been shown at the Tacoma Art Museum.  Kathy’s   art is shown at the   Millstream Gallery on Bainbridge Island, Hotel Murano, Tacoma as well as  Ebb Tide Art Gallery in Gig Harbor and the Gig Harbor History Museum.

Kathy is a member and past president of Peninsula Art League and also opens her studio once a year during the Greater Gig Harbor Open Studio Tour. Kathy has made her  art into cards, prints and tiles which are carried by these galleries.

 Kathy Thurston



 Phone: (253)225-7747

Asia Pacific Cultural Center
4851 South Tacoma Way | Tacoma, WA 98409
Telephone: (253)383.3900
Fax: (253)292-1551
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