About Andrew Lui

Andrew Lui

Andrew Lui’s work integrates formal lessons learned from early Western abstract painting by Kandinsky, Mondrian, and Malevich, with his own personal and social lived experience.  He is also inspired by High Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo execution style and bright colour palette.  His neo-expressionism, gestural fluidity, and all-over execution style are universal not because they transcend lived experience and erase the artist's hand, but because they are rooted in lived experience and champion the partiality of human existence.  “My personal interest in the application of pure visual language will be operated on both personal and social experience,” explains Lui.  The nature of the calligraphic medium compels this Humanism.  Lui did not return to calligraphy until later in his artistic career in Canada.  He began with woodblock printmaking at the Ontario College of Art in the 1970s and worked in oil on canvas in the 1980s in Montreal; during this time “he constrained himself to only supplies available to him in the West”.  For Lui, the calligraphic mode of expression is indelibly intertwined with formative life events from youth in communist China and thus deeply a part of his existential knowledge of being.  The subjective condition of being is revealed, and sometimes betrayed, by one’s calligraphic hand, a feature that Lui is comfortable with now: “painting is always very personal, but now more than ever because I am where I want to be.”  Lui is interested in bringing history into the contemporary space of his paintings.  His Eastern background comes through in his treatment of line, his arrangement of colour, and the recurring themes of pilgrimage, time, timelessness, travel, of the relationship between horse and human.  Now, Lui realizes his energetic compositions in washes of ink and acrylic paint on Xuan paper, handmade in Anhui province specifically for painting and calligraphy, and marouflages the fragile rice paper to panel transforming it into a painting.  He likes the way the paper responds to the pigment.  This style of painting has become his signature.  In every sense of the word.

Born in Guangzhou, China, Lui participated in the Chinese Cultural Revolution as a member of the Red Guard but escaped to Hong Kong in 1970. Making his way to Toronto, Lui studied at the Ontario College of Art before traveling to the UK, and Italy. In Florence, he was drawn to the dynamic Uccello's Battle of San Romano (c. 1456). Lui now lives in Montreal.
Lui is represented in multiple public, corporate and private collections in Canada, Europe and China: Musée d'art contemporain, Musée de Dijon, France, L'Ecole des Beaux Arts, Bruxelles, Pallazo Strozzi, Florence, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Sherbrooke, Grimsby Art Gallery, Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Stratford, Stratford, Coburg Art Gallery, Rodman Hall Art Centre, Canadiana Foundation (Art Collection of Governor General of Canada). He is part of a large number of private and corporate collections, including HSBC of Canada, DKNY and Sun Life Insurance. 
Andrew Lui at Oeno Gallery, October 2011, WATCH THE VIDEO.
Conversation with Andrew Lui in his studio, October 2020, WATCH THE VIDEO.

Past Exhibitions