Realism and abstraction seem two polar opposites; yet artist Mao Lizi has effortlessly bridged these two realms. For the painting Reconfiguration of the Landscape (Lot 146), the artist has drawn inspiration from the rhythmic aesthetics of traditional Chinese paintings and calligraphy. He takes advantage of the fluidity of oil paints and as an artist succeeds in portraying the accidental and mysteriously beautiful on canvas. This is similar to the method of ink splashing observed in traditional Chinese paintings. Whilst the simple and clean presentation reveals a trace of Zen meditation, the solemn and serene atmosphere succeeds in echoing the romantic and free style of Zen painting master Mu Xi of the Southern Song Dynasty.
In combining Western abstract expression and Eastern rendering effect of ink paint, he positions the subject matter between the real and surreal. This is a deviation from the well-arranged Chinese composition that typifies Chinese conventional art and additionally represents the creative transition of the artist's realistic approach from past works. This new approach adheres artistically to the spirit of Zen style paintings, in which metaphoric methods, rather than direct descriptive depiction, is applied to give viewers the freedom and opportunity to understand the lexicon hidden within his creative and inspirational brushwork. The seemingly splashing of colours carries the oriental neutrality and 'the doctrine of the mean' philosophical principles upheld in the artistic standards by this artist. This fastidiously delivered abstraction enables the artist to pursue his artistic self-satisfaction in demonstrating the harmony between the accidental and the natural.