Past Exhibitions

Refineness and Resplendence: Wan Heng paintings on screen Exhibition


Artist  Wan Heng
Curator  Wang Wei

The screen, breaks the monotonous four dimensions of physical space, and defines Chinese space aesthetics between unseen and seen, in and out. It creates haziness between “segregation” and “integration”, which accords with the implicitness and introversion of Chinese psychological culture. Amidst an orderly arranged space, it conveys modesty and indirectness. Compared to other traditional art forms such as scrolls and frames, the meanderings of the screen feature novelty and distinctiveness; in terms of the spatial display, the screen is strongly expressive, and its integration with space seems denser. The screen, offers a spatial context and expresses a kind of atmosphere. Furthermore, as the inky rhythms float over the gold-foil screens, a touch of divine refineness has been added.   

The ancients said, “ink traces, by calligrapher; beauty reveals, by mind.” The aesthetics of ink in Chinese painting flows out of mind, and the beauty of the mind is the origin of ink techniques. The paintings of Wan Heng are influenced by court paintings of the Song dynasty, featuring meticulous brushwork, strictly arranged composition, and elegant overview. Touches and dots are expressed out of minds, with energetic brushes, yet without the inflexibility of the Song dynasty style.

In terms of expressive ways and forms, Wan is conscious of the combination of forms, expressions, and meanings while attempting to match traditional subject matters with contemporary aesthetics, regardless of old pines, withered woods, or ancient plum blossoms. Each screen with gold foil implies a story, by showing its spatial layout, it renders the changing seasons, and those fleeting thoughts transform into subjects.   

This exhibition presents 45 pieces (sets) of paintings on screen featuring subject matters of flowers and birds, as well as the Pine series. it takes you to enjoy the tranquillity and refineness in the classical atmosphere of Wan Heng’s literati paintings, by walking through the maniac yet refreshing natural world depicted by him. Among his works, the Pine series are inspired by his rediscovery and recognition of Chinese literati paintings in the recent couple of years. Wan escapes deliberately the urban noise, instead, he observes the anonymous pines in the nature, which are the most representative of Chinese literati paintings. It resembles visiting the forgotten recluses down the mountain forests and having mindful conversations with them. This creative attempt renders the artist back to his most desired themes—the series subjected on pines had been initiated by Wan, which also extends and broadens his pursuit in art making afterwards.

About the Artist

Wan Heng was born in 1983, Wenzhou, Zhejiang province. He graduated from the China Academy of Art in 2006 with a degree in Chinese Painting, supervised by Professor Fang Yan of Qianzhu academy . He is currently a professional painter, working and living in Wenzhou.  

Wan Heng derives simple pleasure from flowers and plants, fishes and insects. Having received both his BA and MA from the China Academy of Art, Wan gained a well-rounded education that encompasses both the practical and theoretical aspects of art. His works are influenced by court paintings of the Song dynasty, featuring meticulous brushstrokes, carefully arranged compositions, and an elegant palette. While following the theory of the Song and Yuan dynasties, Wan managed to avoid its inflexibility. His themes range comprehensively—from various flowers, and plants, to birds, insects, animals, and portraits. In recent years, Wan pays close attention to materials from ancient Chinese literati paintings, which particularly inspired his reflection and creation on the Pine series.

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