Cao Ou’s ‘Theatre’ Landscape series won Second Prize of ‘The Fourth Muban Educational Trust Woodblock Printmaking Award’ 2020.
In the ‘Theatre ‘ Landscape series, the landscapes come from his imagination. They are his own abstract interpretations different from the classical Chinese landscape paintings; the visuals of landscapes in these works have a strong distinction from work created in the old days. This imaginative series, revealed to us by Cao, was created by using difference image coding, media, and methods.
Landscapes in Cao’s prints no longer represent nature in our reality; instead, viewers will discover big changes to our environment that have come from importing western culture, technology’s revolution, new techniques, pioneer philosophy, and the fast developments of the cities in China.
He used the traditional printing technique, called ‘Do Ban’ which dates back to the 17th century. Each of his prints used more than 10 pear wood blocks and were hand-printed on Pi Paper (a type of bark paper) with water-based ink. This series continues and expands on the style of ‘flat design’ from his previous series which was titled ‘Construction Landscape’. This time, he also added narrative into each print, so that every print not only purely represents the landscape, but you also can read a story or find more interesting details added into each of them. There are words, figures, animals, houses, and other variety of objects inserted to convey to the audience the dynamic relationships between our living environment today and us as human beings. They are meant to evoke further questions ‘How can we protect our blue planet for ourselves right now and for our future generations?