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The approval or disapproval of an assessor is a mode of cultural transmission that increases the accuracy of the process of meme imitation. I believe that creativity and the unlocking of potential through knowledge can be fostered in this one to one relationship in a way that cannot be achieved in a formal relationship, within a bureaucratic, structured environment. Trial and error, learning and imitation (generally the most common alternative kinds of learning methods), were extensevely used in my experience of cultural transmission.
My relationship as an apprentice to Fang Chuxiong is life-long and extends to any tachers or mentors who have taught or guided my master, before he took me on as an apprentice (who are also considered to be my masters) and any apprentices who I have taken on in the same fashion. The connection extends in many directions, through time and place. I am of the opinion that this is the same situation regarding past special relationships, such as that between Guan Shanyue (a second generation teacher and practitioner of the
Lingnan School) and Gao Jainfu (the most influential, founding member of the School). The master/apprentice relationship thus becomes a system of inheritance enabling cumulative cultural transmission. In terms of looking to the past for models of quality, the Lingnan School can be seen as a conditional group.
Through Fang's influence, I have had contact with some of China's most famous artists. This personalises the cultural transmission of knowledge. The five influential painters of the second generation, Zhao Shao'ang, Li Xiongcai, Guan Shanyue, Situ Qi and Yang Shanchen, were all former students of the founding Gao brothers. I have been lucky to meet and have discussion with several of these second-generation painters of the Lingnan School and their students and contemporaries, from whom I have also received instruction and critiques on my work.
Guan Shanyue is a second-generation painter of the Lingnan School, famous for his interpretation of politically inspired works. He is well known for his plum blossom paintings. He gave me several of his books and talked about the paintings reproduced in the texts. One book was of his hometown and contains references in the paintings to his childhood. Another book contained copies of his renderings of the Dunhuang Murals. He spoke to me about his time in the caves, the way he lived while he was painting them and his personal interpretation of these murals. The symbolsim of the plum blossom, both historical and personal, was enlightening. His comments on painting theory and his knowledge of painting overlapping trunks and branches were particularly useful when I applied his techniques to my own painting.
Second-generation painter Li Xiongcai is famous for his landscape paintings. He was also a great teacher. His ability to use black ink a various tones to create a dense mass of strokes, without losing any vitality, was particularly important in my development. He also showed me how to use the blue and green of past masters, and apply it to a landscape format. Both of these artists stressed the role their waves played in the support of their painting.
I met Yang Zhiguang when he had a major show of his paintings in the Lingnan Memorial Hall. Yang Zhinguang's paintings demonstrate the vitality and rhythmic beauty of dance and the physical expression of the human body. Yang resides in America and travels back to Guangzhou periodically. It was interesting to hear comparisons of his life with that of the other artists who had remained within the security of the academy structure. An artist of his calibre is well known and accorded great respect in China. However, in America, the general community know little of his standing and, even if they do, painters are treated very differently.
Other artists, outside the academy structure, have also had influence on my work. Among them is Ling YYoong, a very famous professional painter form the Guangzhou Art Society, who paints very beautiful figures. His daughter, who spent many hours with me in Guangzhou and later studied in Beijing, has a distinctive style.




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