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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See Ocula Report Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See 20 Sep 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

London's galleries and museums are gearing up for a lively October, with Frieze London and Frieze Masters running between 3 and 6 October 2019 at Regent's Park, along with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, taking place across the same dates at Somerset House; and the tenth anniversary of the Sunday Art Fair, showcasing new and emerging artists...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Wang Gongyi

b. 1946, China

Wang Gongyi (王公懿) is a Chinese artist known for her contemporary adaptations of traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting techniques through an ever-expanding practice that encompasses woodblock printing, lithography, installation, and painting.

After studying at the Affiliated High School of the Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, in the early 1970s, Wang was assigned to work first on rural farms then at a publishing house in her hometown of Tianjin. She enrolled in Hangzhou's Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) in 1978 and graduated with an MFA in Printmaking two years later. Wang gained recognition in the early 1980s for winning first prize in the second National Youth Fine Art Exhibition, for which she submitted a series of seven black-and-white woodblock prints commemorating the 19th-century Chinese feminist revolutionary Qiu Jin.

In 1986, Wang became one of the four Chinese artists to study in France as part of a cultural exchange programme. There, she realised her lack of familiarity with traditional Chinese culture that had been neglected in schools during the decades following the Chinese Revolution of 1949. Wang's newly found interest in her cultural background led her to experiment with a wider range of media, incorporating Chinese calligraphy and ink painting techniques into her work. For the installation Listen, Look, Taste, Smell, But Do Not Ask (1993), for instance, the artist used ink to write Chinese words and phrases such as 'why?', 'because', 'but', 'also', and 'do you understand?' on a large sheet of Xuan paper, overlapping the calligraphic characters until they merge into an incomprehensible cloud of black.

Around the same time, Wang's paintings also grew increasingly abstracted and intuitive as a result of the language and cultural barriers she faced in France. Instead of trying to understand her environment with logic, she sought to experience it through her instincts. In 1998, Wang adopted the Buddhist symbol of the conch shell—signifying introspection—and painted it once a day for 140 days. When considered together, the 140 ink paintings of the conch shell in the 'Seashell Diary' series highlight the significance of random chance in Wang's oeuvre.

Continuing to expand her practice, Wang began working with Winsor Blue in 2005 to make watercolour paintings. She favours using Xuan paper which, in a traditional Chinese painting style, requires a careful application of watercolour pigments to prevent them from congealing at the edges. Subverting the convention, however, Wang allows paint to dry unevenly to create a sense of depth and direction in her work. In Melisma (2018), for example, is that the blue gradates from dark to light as it rises to the top, resulting in lyrical yet serene depictions of waves or mountains.

In her watercolour landscapes, Wang traverses figuration and abstraction to capture the sentiments of warmth, nostalgia, and affection embedded in the memories of certain sites. Memories of West Lake, a 2017 solo exhibition at Galerie du Mondu in Hong Kong, presented a series of 11 landscape paintings inspired by the famous West Lake in Hangzhou. Wang lived in proximity to the lake while studying at Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts and became mesmerised by its springtime softness that contrasted with the sandstorms of her hometown during the same period. Her fascination with the beauty of West Lake is captured in Peach Blossoms (2016), an 18-panel painting for which she layered ink wash to produce gentle, radiating clouds of pink and white that denote flowers in bloom, while the vitality of spring is conveyed through powerful strokes and rhythmic waves that form the lotus flowers in Lotus (2016).

Wang has held solo exhibitions internationally, notably Wang Gongyi: Winsor Blue, Chambers Fine Art, New York (2018); Wang Gongyi's Prints at PNCA, Portland Art Museum, Oregon (2018); To See a World in a Flower, Yuting Art Gallery, Hangzhou (2017); and Wang Gongyi Artworks, Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou (2013).

Wang lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

View All (25)
Lotus Diary III by Wang Gongyi contemporary artwork
Wang GongyiLotus Diary III, 2017 Mixed Media on Xuan Paper
56 x 76 cm
Galerie du Monde
Winsor Blue - West Lake by Wang Gongyi contemporary artwork
Wang GongyiWinsor Blue - West Lake, 2015-2016 Watercolor on Xuan Paper
173 x 94 cm
Galerie du Monde
Lotus Diary IV by Wang Gongyi contemporary artwork
Wang GongyiLotus Diary IV, 2017 Mixed Media on Xuan Paper
56 x 76 cm
Galerie du Monde
Blue Mounains 0731 by Wang Gongyi contemporary artwork
Wang GongyiBlue Mounains 0731, 2016 Watercolor on Xuan Paper
93 x 171 cm
Galerie du Monde
Lotus Diary I by Wang Gongyi contemporary artwork
Wang GongyiLotus Diary I, 2017 Mixed Media on Xuan Paper
56 x 76 cm
Galerie du Monde
Grass by Wang Gongyi contemporary artwork
Wang GongyiGrass, 2016 Mixed Media on Silk
137 x 202 cm
Galerie du Monde
Willow by Wang Gongyi contemporary artwork
Wang GongyiWillow, 2016 Mixed Media on Silk
136 x 201 cm
Galerie du Monde
Ulysses 尤利西斯 by Wang Gongyi contemporary artwork
Wang GongyiUlysses 尤利西斯, 2015 Watercolour on untreated Xuan paper
144 x 367 cm
Chambers Fine Art

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Wang Gongyi, Winsor Blue at Chambers Fine Art, New York
Closed
17 November 2018–19 January 2019 Wang Gongyi Winsor Blue Chambers Fine Art, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Wang Gongyi, Memories of West Lake at Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong
Closed
3 November–14 December 2017 Wang Gongyi Memories of West Lake Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong

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