Li Shan: Outside the Window

April 6 - May 4, 2024





Nicholas Metivier Gallery is excited to announce Li Shan’s first exhibition, Outside the Window,  at the gallery and in North America. The exhibition will open April 6th and run through May 4th, 2024. There will be an opening reception with the artist present from 1-3 PM on Saturday, April 6th.


Li Shan joined the No Name Group, an artist collective which operated in China between the 1950s and early 1980s, when she was just fourteen years old. The No Name Group believed in the idea of ‘art for art’s sake,’ at a time when art was a tool of ideological propaganda, intertwined with official political discourse. The group defied the conventions of academic painting, and Li Shan preferred to paint spontaneously, depicting scenes and objects en-plein-air. She developed a practice of working on a small scale and often used a travelling painting box. In the late 1970s, when China embraced modernization and reform, members of the No Name Group, including Li Shan, moved into other fields. Then in 2005, at the age of 48, Li Shan rediscovered her love of painting and found that, "the long-forgotten elements of painting had been integrated into [her] body, and formed a new style of painting". Now, as an independent creator, Li Shan feels more at ease and liberated.


Outside of painting, Li Shan is passionate about outdoor activities such as overseas travelling, hiking, and snowboarding, and has travelled to Canada, England, Scandinavia, Switzerland, and Nepal, using her paintings as a journal to record her journeys. In Outside the Window, Li Shan presents a series of landscapes from 2014 to the present, many of which are based on the places she has visited. Shan admits that the concentration and serenity she enjoys when creating her artwork directly contrasts the outgoing and adventurous personality she displays in her daily life. Li Shan’s work bears similarity with the work of Milton Avery in its harmonious portrayal of the natural landscape and soft colour palette. Whether it is the wilderness or a beachside road, the charm with which Li Shan depicts her idyllic vistas allow viewers to imagine the artist directly in front of her subjects; we can trace the movements of her hand on paper through her use of oil sticks. Li Shan pours her love for beauty and life onto the canvas, imbuing them with a brightness and warmth.