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Female painter taps more media

ONE of China's distinguished female artists, Wang Yuhong has given more dimensions to her work by combining installation and video with her canvas.

Her solo exhibition, "Gifts from China," is underway at Mingyuan Art Center through August 31.

Wang is famous for her vivid still lifes depicting ceramics and antique objects with superb technique. Her works have recorded four decades of change in China.

"I am so encouraged that many people prefer my new approach," she says. "I also feel my paintings are different in content and outlook when the canvas is merged with other media."

The spotlight of the exhibition is a horse-shaped rocking chair made of old comic books.

Whether canvas, installation, video or all three, her works are infused with nostalgia for a bygone era - the childhood of those who were born in the 1970s.

"That's why my peers can immediately decipher the feelings and meanings hidden in my works," she explains.

"Most of us were raised by our grandparents, so our memories of the past are always connected with an old, quiet and soothing environment."

Wang is an expert in painting old, everyday ceramics such as chipped and cracked bowls and plates.

"Many of them were thrown away, but I prefer to keep them in my work. To me, they are not useless old things. They retain a unique warmth that I can still feel from my days with my grandparents."

Wang says she prefers "the good old days," though for many people they were marked by the tumult of the "cultural revolution" (1966-76).

"I don't know whether I am idealizing my childhood or not, but I do miss it as everything seemed pure and sweet."

However, Wang goes beneath the surface of nostalgic still lifes.

"Have you seen my new video?" she asks. "It is about the relationship between a mother and her newborn baby. I want to dig out something deeper behind the familiar tender care of maternal love."


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