The art institute in Huxxian County is housed in an austere, concrete two-story building surrounding by a tall iron fence in a very remote part of mainland China. About three hours outside of Xian, the building has the ominous atmosphere of communist government buildings, a sharp contrast to the beautiful work created inside. The building is laid-out like a museum, although very unadorned by U.S. standards, with paintings hanging on the gray walls. The painting studios are in large, open rooms in the rear of the building.
Generally, paintings in Huxxian County are pieces that focus on subjects of work and commerce and are often proudly symbolic of the modern changes brought by the Cultural Revolution. As compared to the Jinshan paintings, the pictures are more sophisticated in the use of perspective and dimension. Composition tends to be complex, with many figurative elements that are quite literal in their depiction of life.
Still among the Huxxian County paintings, are some interesting contrasts painted by one of their most successful contemporary artists, who is also an art teacher in the artist colony. Both of the paintings in our collection have a woodcut type style, even though they are actually brush paintings. While we have no information about the artist's training or identity, there appears to be strong influences in his paintings from other cultures an attribute that is rare in Chinese Naive Art.