Artist Luo Zhongli has been on a quest for breakthroughs in his artistic language and creative expressions to highlight two of the most timeless themes - the human spirit and outreach. At the end of 1990's, Luo found another artistic voice in lineation and contours to portray his objects, and his brushwork turned progressively rugged and bold. Luo wants to faithfully illustrate the challenging lifestyle of Chinese farmers, and focuses on the idylls of farmers in Daba Mountain. His pieces represent a commendation of farmers' resilience and optimism.
In Thunderstorm, Luo brought to life a hardy peasant farmer snuggling close to his wife on a trip home in a stormy night. They hefted their farming tools, with a spread of old linen on their heads to keep out the rain, and carried kerosene lamps. The composition is akin to Going To Workby French Realism painter, Jean-Francois Millet, who was best known for his compelling portrayals of farm life. The peasants, despite their lowly socioeconomic status, remain dignified in their meager existence. They are a natural, yet poetic part of an agrarian landscape.
The stormy night is splintered by the two lightning flashes. The glare forms a diagonal with the soft light of their lamps that ruptures the dark skies. Sandwiched by the two light sources, their stocky bodies appear extraordinarily imposing, wrestling the viewer's attention to the center. The downpour pelts the couple like silvery needles. Oblivious to the rain, the couple forges ahead sure-footedly on the small path, floodwater up to their knees. It's a symbol of the couple's resolve to brave all the hardships of the future, hand-in-hand.
The rugged, austere brushwork and impasto colouring brim with Luo's strong emotional ties to the stories of Daba Mountain, and his commitment to spotlighting the persevering peasant farmers, their utter devotion to their land. It is in this genuine manifestation of feelings that Luo acknowledges the character that makes us human: this piece pays homage to the labour forces that set the world in motion.