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grant peng

Open Studios Hours May 13/14 and May 20/21, 11am - 5pm

Bio. I was born in Beijing, China, just in time for my adolescence to coincide with the Chinese Cultural Revolution. When I was in sixth grade, Mao Zedong shut down the entire country’s education system. I never went to middle school or high school. Instead, I taught myself to paint.
Western art fascinated me. Works by Monet and Modigliani stood in stark relief to the government-sanctioned, pro-Communist Chinese and Russian paintings I had grown up seeing. I painted obsessively. By the 1970s, I was running with a wild group of young poets, painters, and political activists in Beijing. Together we held underground, politically dangerous exhibitions, the first of their kind in Beijing. We were united by the conviction that art could be more than propaganda.
After the Culture Revolution ended, I completely switched my focus to science. I started by catching up on all the curriculum I had missed since sixth grade. Eventually, my journey took me to the United States, where I received my Ph.D. in chemistry.
Since then, I’ve worked at high tech companies as an engineer and technologist. I am now a physicist and Director at Applied Materials. Throughout my career, I’ve accumulated more than 40 patents.
In recent years, I’ve returned to oil painting. Now, I fuse my artistic and scientific perspectives to explore my understanding of my surroundings. I strive now, as I did half a century ago in Maoist China, to reflect social and political phenomena in painting.

Artist Statement. As a painter, I stick to the fundamentals of composition and color; as an artist, I try to expose the layers of emotions that roil beneath the surface reality we all perceive. Sometimes my work can be almost journalistic – representing current reality with minimal judgement or viewpoint. This way, I avoid the emotional promotion of certain aspects of reality over others. I enjoy expressing the calmness beneath the turbulent surface while retaining the elements of the surface that we all perceive. I also have enjoyed applying symbols to my painting as an extension and elevation of the language of art. One key benefit of my industry experience is my ability to step away from a subject and approach it with a clear and calm mind. That sense of calm and discernment – along with the financial freedom my scientific career provides me – is the foundation for my relaunched career as a painter who wants to bring beauty and satisfaction through art.

Location and Contact Information

Studio or Exhibition Space
Gallery 2727, 2727 California Street, Berkeley, CA, USA
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