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March 5, 2010

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Tangled webs reveal inner life

A solo exhibition by Ann Niu is underway at the Shanghai Art Museum, featuring about 50 abstract oils, many showing a colorful, writhing web of strokes.

Niu, born in Shanghai in the late 1960s, has lived, studied and worked in China, Japan, South Korea and the United States. These days she splits the year between her Shanghai studio and the home of a sister in America.

"Each line that flows from her brush is different from the others, and she gives each stroke a distinctly individual quality," comments Zheng Zhong, a noted local art critic.

"This is not to say that each and every stroke is accomplished, nor is the presence of each and every stroke absolutely necessary to the painting as a whole. In order to stand out from the crowd, a painter has to be fearless, so that at a risky and crucial juncture she will have the conviction to set down a few entirely unexpected and striking lines or patches of color."

Niu focuses on lines and curves, whether seemingly mingled chaotically or loosely scratched on the canvas. Faces and bodies are hidden in the mesh.

Niu uses bright colors and the surface seems to have a plastic texture.

The works evoke emptiness, repetition, indulgence and sentiment.

"I don't focus on big themes, such as social problems or phenomenon," Niu says. "I care about the interior life of the individual, especially women."

Niu says she feels as though she is approaching the core and truth of life and art.

Date: through March 10, 9am-5pm

Address: 325 Nanjing Rd W.

Tel: 6327-2829


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