Show Preview | Hai-Ou Hou

Easton, MD
South Street Art Gallery, September 8-October 6

Hai-Ou Hou, Rolling Clouds, oil, 10 x 18.

Hai-Ou Hou, Rolling Clouds, oil, 10 x 18.

This story was featured in the September 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  September 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

While many artists are content to remain true to their long-developed style and subject matter, plein-air painter Hai-Ou Hou does just the opposite. Her repertoire reflects her artistic philosophy of experimentation in all aspects of her practice. “People don’t usually like that because they want you to stay in one direction, but that restrains the creativity,” Hou says. “If you stop exploring, you’re not going to grow, and it’s boring.” Over the years she has painted everything from portraits to landscapes.

Throughout her diverse career, Hou has often traveled to the West to paint the sprawling landscapes that continue to touch her soul. In her first solo show, hosted by South Street Art Gallery, Hou presents a new body of work from her yearly trips to Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Sedona, AZ. The show opens on Friday, September 8, with a reception from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Originally from Beijing, Hou immigrated to the United States to pursue her master’s degree in fine art at Towson University. But she was always drawn to western imagery and soon found her niche in plein-air painting. Hou prefers to finish her pieces in the field rather than working from references in the studio. “Photographs do not record the real color, and they show too many hard edges,” she says. The artist describes her style as rough and interpretive, using highly textured brushwork to suggest minute details when viewed from far away. “I don’t just make an exact copy of a scene, I paint what I want to see and what I feel, and what I want people to feel about that place,” Hou says.

Alan Brock, who recently took over ownership of South Street Art Gallery, says he felt that Hou had been neglected in the gallery because she was not bringing many new pieces to display. Brock says he chose to give Hou a solo show to signify the new direction of the gallery. “We’re trying to show work that’s pushing the envelope, people who are not working on perfect representations but are showing unusual subjects in different textures and perspectives,” he says. “We’re not going into total abstract expressionism, but we want to get away from that perfectly detailed painting of a duck.” The show closes with an artist’s reception on Friday, October 6, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. —Mackenzie McCreary

contact information
410.770.8350
www.southstreetartgallery.com

This story was featured in the September 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  September 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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