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Strange and Illusory: The Aesthetics of Distortion in Scenery of Shanbei by Shi Lu Open Access


Other title
Scenery of Shanbei
Aesthetics of Distortion
Shi Lu
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Wei, Bingqing
Supervisor and department
Walter Davis (Department of Art and Design)
Examining committee member and department
Lisa Claypool (Department of Art and Design)
Jenn-shann Lin (Department of East Asian Studies)
Department of Art and Design
History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
The objective of this thesis is to consider modern Chinese painting of the Chang’an School, studying in particular an undated painting titled Scenery of Shanbei by Shi Lu. It investigates the fact that Shi Lu’s painting distorts the appearance of the depicted terrain of Shanbei, expressing what I term aesthetics of distortion. I address the question of the personal and political significance of distortion. Is Shi Lu’s use of distortion aimed at self-expression by means of landscape representation? Does it breach cultural conventions and political values preeminent in Shi Lu’s art-historical context? The primary aim of this thesis is to analyse Shi Lu’s aesthetics of distortion and deploy this analysis for arguing that distortion serves representational, expressive, and political uses. The secondary aim is to reconsider the contentious classification of Shi Lu as a propaganda artist and to investigate his association with the regional artistic practices of the Chang’an School.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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