Where West and East cross paths

By Marika Azzopardi

After having lived in countries as diverse as Taiwan, America and Italy, Jason Lu has chosen Malta as an artistic haven, working not only as an artist but as much sough-after art teacher. However, his heart is in painting. He is one of those artists who paint what they feel rather than what they see at face value, choosing to interpret with spirituality, transmitting tangible sentiments as he perceives and experiences them.

Although he has participated in several joint exhibition in the recent past, it is through Searching ñ his current and first true solo exhibition ñ that he is actually going all out to reveal himself to the public. Through this experience he is trying to merge the different aspect of his coloured background, working on the interchangeability of cultures by trying to prove to himself and to others what west and east can be the two sides of his artistic coin and happy with it.

The artist uses simple and natural wood as the basis for his ìeasternî expression, sublimely utilizing the mediumís natural grain to seek out potential inspiration. Searching 01 is a case in point. It is a delicate portrayal of the female nude, depicted in cleaning lines that aptly catch the light, crouching tentatively and seeking to reach to the centre of a puddle as its ripples (of wood) circle out around her feet. This is perhaps on of the most sensitive painting within this collection and the ìsearchingî theme seems particularly adept to its character.

On the other hand, Mr Luís ìwesternî artistic depictions bring on a vivid use of colour with an evident release of any Asian feel to the pictorial expression. Again women, classical images of the human body, come into play. Even names given to the painting are typically European and Western as in the case of Elise.

The classical inclination is part and parcel of his detailed study of 19th century French figurative art incorporating drawing, painting and sculpture, which the proceeded to study for three years in Florence. Mr Lu says: ìPeople believe I am just a classical artist because I place great importance on the classical expression. However, my love of the abstract is another side of my art, and my first real training in America was pure abstract. Personally I donít believing in having only one style, because there are many facts to a personality and thus I cannot express myself in only one way.

ìIn reality I love abstract art for the great freedom it gives me, where I can splash out on huge canvases, releasing my innermost feelings, with uncontrolled vigour. With classical or figurative art, you have to be more directed in your movements.

However, recently my usually extremely large paintings have no necessity become smaller, basically because the market in Malta shows the people do not buy huge wall panels because of space limitations. My heart is in the large paintings however and it is hard for me to restrict myself to smaller spaces, where I feel like Iím fiddling about rather than painting.î

Searching is composed of only 10 pieces, not many, but enough to show the prowess of this artist. As he himself had admitted in an earlier interview, the beauty of art, for him, is the fact that good artists are capable of capturing the multiples sides of the human being. And he likes to say, ìYou should ultimately buy the art which touches you, whatever the style, whoever the artist.