Artist Profile: Bao Lede
Bao Lede’s works are a reflection not only of his cultural roots in China, but of his emotions towards his adopted home on Cape Cod. Rooted in the traditions of Chinese art, which are based on ink paint and calligraphy, his work often emphasizes themes that celebrate nature and the human form. Though his latest pieces include more landscape themes than figurative work, Lede says he still finds the human form inspirational. “To me, the figure and landscape are the same. They are both exciting to me. When people view my work, they see my soul,” Lede says.
Pouring his heart and soul into each of his works is a part of the process for Lede and each piece that the artist creates, comes with its own set of challenges and rewards. “When I am painting, I’m communicating what is happening on the canvas—finding the spirit—my soul becomes the whole with it,” he says. “My relationship with my work is a challenge and at the same time it is harmony. No matter what color or media I use, the creation I make is truly me—it is my soul, my spirit, my philosophy,” Lede adds.
The landscape, he says, is a synergistic combination of his emotional response to the world around him and present-day culture in both China and on Cape Cod. He says the gentle, magical, and delicate interaction of ink on rice paper quietly emerges on the canvas, transformed by expressive, textured gestures of bold, pure color strokes.
An artist for more than 40 years, and the owner of Tao Water galleries in Barnstable and Provincetown, Lede has experimented with mixed media for more than 20 years. With his latest works, Lede is painting without ink and rice paper, employing the use of only oil and palette knife—yet creating the same powerful effect. “It combines eastern and western cultures—a unique style not seen anywhere else,” he says.
Lede’s works such as Dancing on the Silk Road and Warrior and His Chariot II—both mixed media with ink, oil, and rice paper on canvas—are a combination of both western and eastern influences. While the black ink strokes reflect his early training, the colors and strong palette knife reflect the western tradition embodying both cultures making his art truly unique and powerful.