The youth, the Magic World

On View

April 08 – May 28,2021
Zoom Opening Ceremony on Apr 10,at 7:30 pm PST,2021

Press Release and Curator’s Essay

March 16, 2021 (Palo Alto, CA) - Qualia Contemporary Art is pleased to present Site, a solo exhibition by painter Tommy Fitzpatrick, featuring new works in his 25-year exploration of structural space and color. The artist takes architecture as his inspiration, constructing painted forms that straddle sculpture, still life, and abstraction. His work demonstrates how our perception of the built environment can evolve over time. Site is open to the public from April 10 through May 28, 2021 with an opening celebration hosted on Zoom on April 10th, at 7:30pm PST. To RSVP, please visit:


Site marks an evolution in Fitzpatrick’s practice, moving away from painting from life or photographs toward the use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, a program typically used by architects. For this exhibition, he modeled his works in virtual, diagrammatic space

using CAD, which he then translated onto canvas. The artist sees architecture as a record or memory of past ideas, and his paintings present both their ruins and their utopian potential. He is particularly drawn to modernist buildings that once heralded a better society and have since been repurposed or forgotten. By subverting categorization of scale, content, or genre, his work depicts deconstruction and new creation at once.


Site foregrounds the physical, material qualities of the artist’s techniques: gallons of polymers are poured onto canvas not unlike how cement is poured to make brutalist buildings. Fitzpatrick used tools often found on construction sites, like concrete placers and trows, to create coagulated slabs of paint that project off the surface of the canvas and create a relief-like effect. The paintings achieve hard edges while simultaneously oozing thick, gooey paint and vibrant color. The paint itself is the point, suspended in time and action, both flat and protuberant. Peaks of paint cast shadows onto the rest of the work, creating their own topography. The artist was taught that to make a painting, you structure it like a building: the foundation, the frame, and the exterior. The moment the work was made is preserved within the canvas itself, allowing the viewer to see and feel how the painting came to be.


The artist assisted iconic minimalist painter Frank Stella in 1998 with a mural installation in Houston. The experience impacted Fitzpatrick greatly and encouraged his transition from smooth and seamless works to bold, geometric pieces composed of color blocks, shapes, and

lines. His latest paintings take this idea to a new level, embracing a greater ambiguity in the representation of his subjects. Lines and shapes have begun to form abstracted roofs and windows. By painting structures that no longer exist or have changed over time, the artist makes

them visible in new and exciting ways.


About Tommy Fitzpatrick

Born in Dallas in 1969, Tommy Fitzpatrick received his B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Texas in Austin in 1991, followed by an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art in 1993. Fitzpatrick has shown in numerous exhibitions in cities such as Houston, Madrid, New   York,

London, Dallas, Berlin, and Seoul. An exhibition catalogue was published for his Seoul show, titled City Faces, in 2009. Also that same year, he participated in Geometry in Reflection with Margo Sawyer at the University of Texas at Arlington, featuring a catalogue essay by Christina

Rees. His work was also documented in catalogues for Bridge, a 2006 solo show in Berlin, and Object Lessons, a seven-year survey of Fitzpatrick’s work curated by Clint Willour of the Galveston Arts Center; the exhibition also traveled to Texas A&M in Commerce and The

Arlington Museum of Art.


His paintings are in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus  Christi, and the Menil Collection in Houston. He is currently a professor of painting at Texas State University in San  Marcos, Texas, and resides in New Braunfels, Texas.




March 23, 2021 (Palo Alto, CA) - Qualia Contemporary Art is pleased to present The Youth, the Magical World, a solo exhibition by Chinese painter LYU Peng, featuring five large format paintings that view past and present Chinese culture through a surrealist lens. The works in the exhibition are masterly painted on delicate rice paper using traditional Chinese inks and pigments. The series centers around the evolution of knowledge, tradition and culture as it passes from older to younger generations, symbolized in part by the large red books which recur in Peng’s work. The Youth, the Magical World is open to the public from April 10 through May 28, 2021 with an opening celebration hosted on Zoom* on April 10th, at 7:30pm PST. 


To craft his fantastic, almost mythological scenes, Peng combines elements of traditional Chinese art and philosophy with Renaissance art historical details. The influence of Renaissance paintings can be seen in the linear way the artist depicts beams of light, his sculptural approach to the human body, and the lush draping of fabric. By implementing techniques and imagery from across space and time, he creates complex compositions that are both unexpected and uncanny, familiar yet physically impossible. The artist meticulously organizes characters within his densely packed and patterned scenes to adhere to a harmonious internal logic. In highlighting the complementary aspects of his aesthetic influences, Peng suggests that younger generations may determine which parts of culture they accept, reject, or adapt as their own. 


The conceptual integrity of Peng’s compositions extends to his materials. Employing traditional Chinese painting techniques, the artist is purposeful. For the works in The Youth, the Magical World, the artist painted on a very special rice paper called “Yunlong Xuan,” which contains raw, untouched fiber and allows for an usually rich depth of color and texture.


Books feature in Peng’s work as vessels that carry wisdom and lore to the next generation. In this exhibition, the characters’ faces are often hidden behind immense red books, leaving only their peculiarly positioned bodies to communicate emotion and intent to the audience. With physical features reminiscent of Greek or Roman statues, the characters feel unreal. Theatrical markers like curtains and facade-like backdrops emphasize the dramatic, performative quality of the scenes, hinting that life is like a drama on the stage. 


Though Peng has often represented the cultural clash of the new and old in his work, this series builds a bridge. The artist’s multi-layered work highlights the ways in which young people can absorb a variety of histories and cultural influences and out of them create new realities. Each element of The Youth, the Magical World works together to simultaneously summon and resolve the chaos of modern life, generating new stories to pass on, and new ways to make sense of the world.


*To RSVP to the opening event, please visit:


About LYU Peng

LYU Peng is a Chinese contemporary painter who explores the metamorphosis of Chinese society through work that acts as a metaphor for the estrangement and intimacy of contemporaryChina. Peng has a PHD in Chinese Painting from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing,Chinaand is currently an Associate Professor of Fine Arts at the Beijing Institute of Education. Peng has had numerous solo and group exhibitions at international institutions including: The National Art Museum of China, Beijing; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston; Millennium Art Museum of China, Beijing; Chinese Contemporary, London; and The Denver Art Museum. Peng’s work is held in global public and private collections including in:China, Hong Kong, Macao,Taiwan, France, US,Italy,Germany,Sweden,Switzerland,Australia,Thailand,Korea,JapanandSingapore. Peng currently lives and works in Beijing. 

Read More