Showcasing the Arts

October/November 2019 Featured Artist:
Dongfeng Li


Dongfeng Li
Dongfeng Li, who teaches art at Morehead State University, has won multiple awards at several state and national watercolor exhibitions, and has participated in many regional, national and international exhibitions.
Dongfeng Li is an associate professor teaching drawing, painting and watercolor at Morehead State University. His past experiences include teaching courses at Webster University, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and lecturing on Ming Dynasty art, history and culture at the St. Louis Art Museum.

Li has earned two graduate degrees, a Master of Art Education and a Master of Fine Art. In addition to a career dedicated to instructing and inspiring future artists, he has participated in countless regional, national and international exhibitions, including solo, two-person and juried competitions, as well as group exhibitions to hone his craft. Li has accumulated numerous awards, and was named an award winner for American Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibitions three times in the past 10 years.

In addition to his 2018 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, Li is extremely proud of his nine first-place awards at the National Watercolor Society Annual Exhibitions in Alaska, Illinois, Missouri, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana and Kentucky. In addition, he has been awarded competitive research grants three times from Morehead State University and the projects’ associated exhibitions have been featured in national magazines such as the Watercolor Artist Magazine and local media outlets such as the Louisville Courier-Journal and Lexington’s CBS affiliate WKYT-TV. Currently, he has work displayed at various public and private galleries, including a permanent collection of artwork at the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, Ala.

Artist’s statement:

There are two strands of thought that inform the artistic choices I make:

1. The visual aesthetic.

This is composed of decisions about composition, color, the handling of paint, the classic considerations involved in applying oil to canvas, and striving to be as skillful a painter as possible.

2. The emotional experience and impression to my objects.

I want to create an intimate relationship between the viewer and the subject through use of composition, values and colors to convey the mood. When I work on landscapes, I would treat nature as a portrait which has her own expression and mood, such as the light, values and color hues/temperatures. I would focus the viewer's gaze on the subject so that they can allow themselves a pure emotional reaction that speaks as much of their own feelings and experiences whenever I paint the human being.

I am further interested in where culture intersects and how images carry meaning within a society that consumes a vast amount of visual information. My paintings are focused on figures and nature for that reason. My investigation focuses on how I could inform my feelings with my experiences of the context, expectations and perceptions of the subjects I see. My visual vocabularies include colors, textures, washes, gestures of the human forms, and abstract shapes.


Dongfeng Li
Morehead, Ky.



Page last updated: October 1, 2019
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