Forest Lawn Glendale is a cemetery like no other. Filled with 1,500 statues, recreations of David and the Last Supper and the world’s largest painting it’s one of the more eclectic Los Angeles landmarks and that’s exactly why I love it. The onsite museum follows suit and over the years has presented exhibitions on as diverse subjects as rock music, tiki, Disney animators, David Bowie and, now, Cao Yong.
Art Without Boundaries by CAO YONG: Citizen of the World opens tomorrow, July 27, and features the first exhibition of original artwork from the popular painter. I recently visited the museum to preview the exhibit and was introduced to a brand new artist.
Though Cao Yong is extremely popular I was unfamiliar with the artist and his work. His story is that of a painter who overcame much hardship to embrace his true passion. Born in a small town in China his family was ostracized because of their warlord ancestry. Forced into child labor he had an unlikely future until he began to study art. Showing a true talent his family sacrificed much to allow him to continue his studies. As a young man he traveled through Tibet and studied the ancient art of the country. Soon fame followed and he began to gain popularity around the world. Unfortunately, the authorities continued to disapprove of him and he eventually emigrated to the US where he continues to live and work.
Due to his time in Tibet the monastic life has influenced much of his paintings and the first section of the exhibit id devoted to these.
Ranging from abstract to portraiture they provide a peek into Tibetan life.
In the years since his relocation to the US he has traveled the world and much of his later work is influence by the cities he’s visited. The second gallery is devoted to the latter works.
They contrast sharply with the Tibetan works and are filled with bright colors and light. Often depicting familiar areas with a fantastical atmosphere they offer interesting glimpses into the mind of the artist.
Art Without Boundaries by CAO YONG: Citizen of the World runs through December 14 and offers a comprehensive study of an artist beloved the world over.