Tina Keng Gallery is pleased to present Admirable Freedom, a solo exhibition by Chinese artist Wang Zixuan, specially curated by Yin Jinan, Dean of the School of Humanities, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China. Spanning two years of Wang’s art practice from 2012 to 2014, the exhibition transports viewers from a white cube in metropolitan Taipei to the Mogao Caves in remote Dunhuang with Wang’s subtle and mysterious Buddhist-themed paintings. The exhibition title “Admirable Freedom” refers to a Zen state of mind that the artist pursues through her aesthetic prism, which offers a different outlook on Buddhist art in a contemporary context.
In traditional Buddhist art, figurativism is the most common means in conveying solemnity. Wang deliberately abandons this usual but rigid way of expression, by depicting what appears to be — upon first glance — absolute formlessness of gray or black, yet morphs into an indistinct form on canvas when viewed from afar. The artist applies serene brushwork that renders gauzy silhouettes and shapes through the texture of oil paint. Influenced by stone reliefs prevalent in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.), Wang’s work manifests two-dimensionality of motifs and patterns that mimic rock texture, calling to mind ancient stone rubbings that predate human civilization.
The artist takes Buddhist figures into her work, endowing them with her sense of peace and order. As she dives into her creative process, every brushstroke is proof of her spiritual journey where she finds contentment for the mind. Religious symbolism carries a different meaning in contemporary society than when it was first established to disseminate religious convictions. In Wang’s work one sees defiance against all stereotypes about Buddhist painting, as the artist reinterprets Buddhist symbolism and captures its essence with her paintbrush just like when holy icons were first portrayed in ancient times.
Formerly a musician, Wang studied voice under famous composer Gu Jianfen (b. 1935), before she discovered inspiration in Buddha stone sculptures and became a painter. Between 2002 and 2008, Wang conducted meditation in different provinces in China. She was the Ambassador of Shangri-La, Diqing Prefecture, Yunnan. She also participated in the restoration and construction of 13 pagodas in Meili Snow Mountain, Deqing County, Yunnan, as an act of blessing for the local people. Her solo exhibitions include Reflection, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2012); Satori: Sources of Inner Illumination, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chengdu, and Perfection Space, Shanghai, China (2013); and Detached Perception, National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan (2014).