By Wang Jie
BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Flower-and-bird ink-wash painting reached its peak in the Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279) and was favored by artist-scholars, but today the subject of the delicate natural world and its small denizens is less appealing.
The genre also includes fish, squirrels, crickets, butterflies, turtles, frogs, and other small animals, as well as all manner of flowers, plants and trees.
Artist Wan Fei still pursues bird-and-flower ink-wash painting — just birds and flowers — but her works are colorful and modern, as well as very soothing. They are nothing like the traditional works that ancient scholars would have recognized and praised.
Forty of Wan’s works are showcased at the Shanghai Chinese Painting Academy.
“Tradition is good, but it is too far from our modern life and aesthetic taste,” says Wan. “I adopted some Western abstract style in the background to distinguish the lovely birds surrounded by a natural, dim world.”
She breaks away from the traditional tableau and rearranges the world of flowers and birds, making them bolder, using warm and cold hues that she meld harmoniously.
The birds themselves are depicted in traditional realistic style; the feathers are so vividly rendered that viewers can almost feel them.
“To paint a bird, I must first be a bird lover,” she says. “I love talking to my birds and treat them like my best friends. They are creatures of spirituality.”
She uses an unusual red color that some call “Wan’s red.”
“It’s quite difficult to paint red on rice paper,” Wan says. “It could easily be gaudy or dull with just a slight change in hue. I tried many time to achieve the perfect visual effect.”
In Shanghai, Wan paints in her studio, raises birds and grows flowers in her backyard. She keeps a low profile, preferring the company of birds to socializing and networking.
Date: Through October 31 (closed Monday), 9am-4pm
Address: 197 Yueyang Rd
(Source: Shanghai Daily)