2008 has been an extraordinary year for Cao Yong(pronounced “Chow”). The Host Committee of the Olympics used his painting, “Voice of the East,” as the emblem on every VIP certificate given to athletes and visitors.
For years, Cao and the Chinese government were at odds over his expressions of artistic freedom and his belief that art must convey emotion. The choice of his painting represents the first full recognition of his talent in his own country.
2008 also marked the publication in English of TAO, On the Road and On the Run in Outlaw China, Japanese writer Aya Goda’s account of meeting Cao in Tibet in 1988. Early in the book, Goda quotes Cao talking about art, “The true value of art is surely in the ultimate spirituality with which all of humankind can identify. Art is living spirit, one eternal soul.”
The Guardian said of the book what one could also say of Cao’s art, that it “captures the thrill of discovering the world in all its beauty and troubles.”
Cao Yong makes a rare appearance in the Sacramento area on Saturday. A wide selection of his images, including those of Tibet and his beloved Italy, where he first experienced artistic freedom, are on display at American Visions Gallery, in Folsom, California.
Giovanna Stark, the owner of American Visions, says, “There is such intensity of color and feeling in Cao’s art. His new series on Tibetan monks expresses serenity and pain, and the Italian scenes take me there like few others, which is amazing considering the distance between his childhood in China and mine in Tuscany.”
Among the works on display at American Visions Gallery are recent scenes of Tibet, Paris, California, and Italy’s Cinque Terre.
This Saturday, American Visions Gallery hosts a reception for Cao from 3 pm until 8 pm. As a special treat at the event, Cao will add an original sketch on the back of any canvas purchased at the show.
The reception is free and open to the public.
This is one of only two public appearances for Cao, in the United States this year. RSVPs are appreciated but not required. Appetizers and wine will be served. For more information, call 916-351-1623.
AMERICAN VISIONS ART GALLERY
718 Sutter Street
Folsom, CA 95630