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December 11, 2009

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Home » Feature » Art and Culture

Portrait of modern women

TODAY'S Chinese women, whether rustic, working-class or stylishly urban, are celebrated in 70 realistic paintings in a one-man show at the Shanghai Art Museum.

The artist, 52-year-old He Jiaying, is director of the Tianjin Traditional Chinese Painting Academy.

He fuses ancient and modern, preserving the style of traditional Chinese realistic paintings and appealing to contemporary aesthetics.

Most of his subjects are women, but not the stereotypical ancient Chinese ladies that appeal to foreigners.

"Whether naive girls, fashionable ladies, minority or countryside women, all of them in my paintings have something in common," says He. "They represent the best of Oriental women: quiet, soft and kind."

He says he uses some Western techniques of portrait painting and frequently sketches people he meets every day. "These people are the source of inspiration," He says.

He doesn't favor one "type" of woman over another. A painting of a village girl sewing peacefully conveys a message of elegance and harmony.

"This is my feeling about an ordinary and peaceful life," he concludes.

Traditional realistic paintings should have three basic elements to suit modern aesthetics, he says.

"Rhythm, space and touch," he says, "but it's difficult to define them precisely. My style didn't develop in a day, but evolved over decades."

Date: through December 18, 9am-5pm

Address: 325 Nanjing Rd W.

Tel: 6327-2829


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