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Fascination of the Unknown: Art by Lu Chao

An oil painting of a greyscale tree with human facesRiver Black Forest, oil on canvas

Lu Chao is an artist based in London and Beijing. Using oil paint and other traditional media, the artist explores the beauty and fascination of the unknown, taking as inspiration the Socratic Paradox – the notion of knowing that we know nothing.

A painting of a clear glass containerContainer No. 2, oil on wood panel

Lu’s recent works are mostly created in greyscale, and each image seems to follow a narrative, though the exact nature of the image seems suitably unknowable. I appreciate the relative simplicity of Lu’s works in this series – they achieve a great degree of mystery and intrigue with the inclusion of only a handful of visible forms and figures.


A number of the artist’s recent works depict simple black spheres, which on their own could be satisfying abstract images, but when placed in frame with numerous tiny human figures become massive, eerie alien monuments. Lu’s exploration of the tension between forms creates deep symbolic meaning for the work.

A painting of an abstract sphere over numerous small figuresSuspension, oil on canvas

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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