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January 14 - February 24, 2016

Creativity Explored

San Francisco, CA

Shanghai Police with Bicycles and Scooters (detail) by Andrew Li © 2011 Creativity Explored Licensing, LLC, ink on linen, 16 x 20 inches

A solo exhibition of energetic urban environments by one of Creativity Explored’s most keen artists.

Creativity Explored kicks off its 33rd year with a solo exhibition of artist Andrew Li (b. 1962, Shanghai). Li is renowned for his loose, sketch drawing style he has been practicing for 25 years in the Creativity Explored studio. Andrew Li: My Life Here and There features over 50 new large-scale paintings, mixed media works on wood, a series of cardboard sculptures, as well as the artist’s popular traditional pen and watercolor compositions on linen board.

Li’s most frequent subject matter are active, urban environments and all their elements (cityscapes, transportation, groups of people, pets). Sketching from life and memory, Li incorporates what he observes into artwork with precise perspective and attention to detail. Yet, there is little distinction between the form and content of Li’s work. All aspects, from ink-splattered process to finished piece, are integrated. What emerges encapsulates how the eye reads a chaotic scene; how it latches on to certain details and summarizes others, how it makes sense of all the dizzying activity encountered on a busy street.

Li’s works are also personal, depicting family members, his experiences of city living in Shanghai or San Francisco, or members of the Creativity Explored studio. In recreating his personal fascinations, experiences, and memories on paper, Li invites the viewer into his busy life, while also providing a glimpse into his personality. The speed of urban life mirrors Li’s daily activities. Not only is he an artist at Creativity Explored, but Li also attends classes at City College of San Francisco. He is deeply fascinated with the inner workings of cars, buses, trains, bicycles, human and animal movement. This affinity for movement is captured on the picture plane through a stream of consciousness style of drawing.

In Li’s large-scale artworks, the viewer is instantly transported into the “canvas.” The bustle of city life with cars, bikes, and people becomes palpable in artworks like Trains, 2014, watercolor and marker on paper, 36 x 42 inches. In Trains, San Francisco public buses known as MUNI, converge from all angles in a chaotic sea of the vehicles’ signature red, yellow, and orange colors. The combination of Li’s quick strokes and angles of the buses capture the stressful experience of city public transportation.

Li’s smaller works, whether pen and watercolor on linen board or mixed media on wood, function as snapshots of civic life. For example, People Doing Tai Chi, 2015, mixed media on wood, 11 x 11 inches, provides a peek into San Francisco’s diverse culture where martial arts participants, animals, and bikes share a public park. In Untitled (Pack VII), year, media, size, Li portrays the energy and movement of another of his favorite subjects: dogs. Through brief strokes of pen and watercolor on linen board, Li paints a pack of dogs in motion. With a single stroke, he adds personality of life to each canine.

In Li’s latest body of work, cars, boats, and buses are recreated as three-dimensional sculptures made from tape, ink, and Wite-Out on cardboard. When displayed as a group, the two-toned mixed-media sculptures magically recreate a familiar urban scene into a Zen experience.

Li’s art is collected by patrons in the Bay Area, the U.S., and abroad, and has even been reproduced on skateboards, t-shirts, and on the San Francisco MUNI Disability Guide. The artist’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. In addition to a solo exhibit at the Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, CA in 2009, Li’s artwork was included in West Coasts, Museum of La Creation Franche, Begles, France in 2014, Outsider Artists, Oakland International Airport, Oakland, CA and Outside In: The Art of Inclusion, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland in 2013, The Museum of Everything: Exhibition #4, Selfridges, London, UK, Fresh Flowers in Boston University College of Fine Arts - Sherman Gallery, Kirksville, MO in 2011, one of these does not belong, Adobe Books Back Room Gallery, San Francisco, CA in 2008, Radiant Spaces: Private Domaine, Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA in 2004, Dialogue Project at Funabashi Cure Gallery, Funabashi Cure Gallery, Funabashi, Japan and Hello There Friend, Christine Burgin Gallery, New York, NY in 2003, Created in California, Berenberg Gallery, Boston, MA in 2000, and Bay Area Now 2, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA in 1999.

Curated by Gilles Combet

Opening Reception

Thursday, January 14, 2015
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Donor Preview*

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

*To become a donor, click here.

FREE parking available during the opening reception at Mission Dolores Church (enter on Church Street) from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. 

Featured Events

Art Changes Lives 2019
April 5, 2019
5:00 PM to 9:30 PM

Join us at Art Changes Lives 2019, Creativity Explored's annual gala where we celebrate the power of art to change lives with dinner, drinks, and the exclusive opportunity to bid o...