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November 13, 2011

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Artist sees time slipping away

PAINTER Chen Yiming does not receive the same attention and adulation of his older brother Chen Yifei, a legendary visual artist, businessman and film director.

But Chen Yiming's paintings are impressive and he has held seven solo exhibitions at Hammer Gallery, one of the top art galleries in the United States.

As for his famous brother, Chen Yiming says: "Many have asked me whether my elder brother influenced me a lot, my answer is always yes. This is something in my blood."

Shanghai Art Museum is now featuring an exhibition of Chen Yiming's work from the past four decades.

The Shanghai native's work focuses largely on women and these paintings are mostly set in China before 1949.

In much of his work there is a sense of time slipping away. In one such painting, a beautiful young woman pauses while playing pipa, a Chinese musical instrument. A traditional ink-wash landscape painting is featured behind her, accentuating the silk garments she wears as she caresses the strings of her instrument. The landscape looms over her and has a forboding quality. The patterns in the textiles of her garment swarm over her, flitting gingerly on her arms.

Peter Drake, dean of academic affairs, New York Academy of Art, says Chen Yiming's nudes are some of his best paintings.

"Chen's nudes are some of his most ravishing and provocative works," Drake says. "They utilize his entire inventory of painting procedures, from the loaded brush and direct observation of the London School, to the subtle modulations of Ingres and Bouguereau. They frequently isolate the figure in a void, allowing the viewer to immerse themselves in the turning of form and temperature shifts from cool to warm and back again."

Depth of field is a term often associated with photography and film. Chen Yiming, 60, uses depth of field frequently to create a vacuum surrounding his figures. Indeed, his paintings possess a photographic quality.

In paintings like "Young Woman in Bamboo Garden," "Lily Pond" and "Pensive Moment," there is the sense that the subject is lost in thought and isolated in their surroundings. A viewer may even feel that looking at them will interrupt the subjects from their thoughts.

Date: Through November 18, 9am-5pm

Address: 325 Nanjing Rd W.


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