周勇教授周勇教授在獲得聯合國環境發展藝術交流展榮譽獎後首次在美國舉辦個人畫展時，聯合國環境發展委員會主席 Theodore W. Kheel 這樣評價他的作品:"七百多年前，馬可波羅把中國的古絲綢之路帶給了歐洲，而今天周勇先生以其精湛的油畫作品使美國人民得以領略真正的絲路風彩。"
After receiving an honorary award at the Environment and Development Art Exhibition organized by the United Nations, Yong Zhou came to the United States for his first solo exhibition. Mr. Theodore W. Kheei, chairman of the U.N. environment and Development Committee, commented about Yong Zhou’s works: “More than seven hundred years ago, macro Polo brought the ancient Silk Road of China to Europe and Yong Zhou is today bringing the true elegance of the Silk Road to the American people through his excellent oil paintings”.
The hinterland of Asia is found between the Tian Shan and Kunlun mountain ranges and its naval is the Turpan basin, the lowest surface depression in the world. For several thousand years, this little known territory served as a bridge for economic and cultural exchanges between the European and Asian continents. It is here that Yong Zhou, now a famous painter, lived for over twenty years, perfecting his knowledge of Life and Art. He now steps into a different but just as colorful world, the United States. More importantly, he brings to this world the gifts of his experience and artistic accomplishment. From his oil paintings, we share with the artist what he has seen and felt on the Chinese Silk Road.
As Yong Zhou’s paintings reflect the natural conditions and social customs of a remote part of China, one may question whether or not his works are limited to that particular region. People often feel that paintings of a certain geographical and social environment have narrow “regional” and simple “realistic” inclinations. It is assumed that these inclinations either hinder aesthetic extrapolation or weaken the painting’s artistic value. Although Yong Zhou uses the country’s western territory as a background for his artistic creations and the “natural conditions and social customs” of a particular area as the source material of his art, his works do not exhibit these tendencies. The composition of his paintings is not simple “regional” or realistic”, but results from the proper treatment of the source material with an insistence on the purity of the language of oil painting. Moreover, the paintings demonstrate a style that has been developed through years of unremitting artistic practice. The artist himself is sensible enough to realize that exotic geographical feature neither guarantee artistic success nor result in a new school of painting. The contemplation of Life and Art allows the artist to introduce into his paintings a broad spectrum of meaning. In addition, the artist’s personality distills and transforms a regional vision into an art that can be understood trans-culturally.
It is from this standpoint that the artist has begun his search for artistic perfection, a trait which characterizes the increasing maturity of his works. As a result, Yong Zhou’s works manifest a “carefully controlled romantic” style, which combines the rich tradition of Chinese art with the elegance of classic western oil painting. In addition, the artist has achieved a unity of feeling and skill, allowing him to express the wonder of discovering the Silk Road. The work of a successful artist reflects temperament, as does the work of Yong Zhou. His work is full of vitality and energy, unique in structure, free in color and distinct in themes. He is not limited by the rules of realism but also values the truth of imagination. Thus, the artist’s heart is present in every brushstroke, the inspiration of the Silk Road vividly recalled in every image. It is this quality which makes Yong Zhou’s vision of the Silk Road an invitation to cultural understanding.