HANNAH BACOL BUSCH GALLERY
Out with the new; in with the old. Case in point: Hannah Bacol Busch is bringing back Gongbi, an ancient Chinese painting technique. “It originated in the Chinese culture and only the most affluent people could afford to commission Gongbi artists,” explains Bacol Busch. “It’s a type of painting that is very meticulous.”
Shanghai-born Sirun Guan will be demonstrating her watercolor technique October 27 at Hannah Bacol Busch Gallery during an opening reception for her solo exhibit. “We have four huge panels and she will do a section. She is hoping to complete them by next year for another show. The public will be invited to watch when she completes it,” says Bacol Busch.
The name Gongbi is from the Chinese gong chin meaning “tidy.” The technique uses highly detailed brushstrokes that delimit details very precisely and usually depicts figural or narrative subjects. It is usually highly coloured. Guan’s mission is to give the age-old technique a modern twist. “There’s a huge movement in China right now of modernizing Gongbi,” reveals Bacol Busch. “But I think Siran Guan is the only artist in Texas who paints in this style,” she adds.
Sirun Guan graduated from Tongji University in China. Her mentors included acclaimed Chinese painters/professors Zhan Hongchang and Cheng Xi. She came to the United States in 2007 to continue exploring the world of art while also working as an urban designer. She trained with American watercolorists and her paintings were selected in multiple juried art shows, including American Watercolor Society, International Exhibition and Watercolor Art Society of Houston International Art Competition. Her original paintings are found in the private collections of Pat Corrigan, Julio Parker, Anna Marie Finch, Sue Darcy, Marilynn Oliver, Wendy and Erik O’Brian and others. Bacol Busch has been representing her for eight years. “I just love her,” she gushes.
The paintings on view this month are intricate and richly hued. “It takes her two to three months to do one painting,” says Bacol Busch. Preferring rice paper to canvas, Guan is an artist in residence who also teaches at the gallery. She is part of a roster of three artists who offer classes for both children and adults. “This is under the umbrella of services to the community. I want to do films, talks and bring artists from other countries and inspire art enthusiasts,” says Bacol Busch.
Originally located on Shepherd Ave. in River Oaks, Hannah Bacol Busch Gallery is grooving on its temporary digs in Bellaire. “I’ve realized, being out here, that location is everything!” says Bacol Busch. She is working on a future site in the Museum District. “That’s an ideal location if I want to be internationally recognized,” she says, “but I’d like to keep the classes here because this is a great space and Bellaire is really highly acknowledged for its schools. Bellaire High is an excellent school. My husband went there and then went to Harvard!” she adds about her psychologist husband, who is sharing his roomy office building with the gallery.
Bacol Busch is also working on a brand new gallery structure in the Museum District, which she hopes to complete by end of 2013. She is especially enthusiastic as she describes the shows she plans on having there. “There is an art-therapy program in the South of France where Van Gogh was treated called Saint-Paul (the asylum where he produced a series of well-known paintings). We’ll probably do a show with those artists,” she reveals. “It’s a really interesting exhibition that could really put Houston on the map.”
Sirun Guan Show Preview
October 27, 2012, 6-9pm
Hannah Bacol Busch Gallery
6900 S. Rice Ave.
Bellaire, Texas 77401
By Nadia Michel
Photography Jaime Lagdameo