Curator Pan Qing on Hong Kong Artist Nancy Chu Woo

Kwai Fung Hin
Jan 4, 2019 4:33AM
Nancy Chu Woo
Symphony, 2018
Kwai Fung Hin

One minute you are dazzled by the light

And the next you see hibiscus fresh and bright

You see people strolling and sitting around outside city gates

You see buzzing streets with red lanterns and ornaments hung high

These lines from the great poet Su Shi (1037-1101) best capture the painting style of Nancy Chu Woo.

…Nancy Chu Woo is able to combine the East and the West in her paintings. The two seemingly widely different styles joined hands in her works, naturally and seamlessly. She combines bright color, light, and shadow techniques in Western painting with smoky cloud effects in traditional Chinese ink painting to form what is known as light and shadow ink painting. She puts different colors on dry ink to achieve the degree of richness and beauty, a level that others dreamed of but failed to reach. The result: dazzling sceneries. When they painted landscapes, ancient Chinese painters expressed their feelings, not a mirror image of the scenery. It is nonetheless true with Nancy Chu Woo’s world of flowing colors, where her thoughts and dreams find home. Strolling in her paintings, one can feel the colorful clouds, the clear skies, the blue lakes, and the sensuous breezes. Everything in her painting seems to have a magical power. The marriage of color and light stimulates people’s most sensitive nerves. The vivid and gorgeous colors convey Nancy Chu Woo's true passion and love for painting. Her paintings tell the true stories deep in her heart. They negotiate seamlessly between China and the West, presenting both a panoramic view and a close-up observation of the two worlds…

…Nancy Chu Woo often draws human figures and landscapes as well.

In the images painted by charcoal sticks, the back of a woman, the fruits, and the vegetables are all well-defined, accurate and beautiful, while nonetheless muscular and healthy. Fruits and vegetables present the same visual effects as seeing a woman’s body, strong and fit. Viewers understand and smile. Li Zhongmeng, from the Song Dynasty, said in Fei Ran Collection that one’s sensation can be fired up by seeing an object. It reveals what is implied in these words. In the process of painting light and shadow, no matter human figures or vegetables, Nancy Chu Woo provides a dynamic perception, blurring the outline of the image to make it more vivid and gives life to everything with dynamic beauty. The nude woman in the shadow reminds people of the classic works such as Flora. The effect of “Now you see it, now you don’t” is exactly what gives a painting its wonders. Such is Nancy Chu Woo’s style. Her paintings show her mastery of the technique, and beauty is a natural result…


Pan Qing

Deputy Director, Department of Curatorial Affairs and Exhibition Design, National Museum of China

Kwai Fung Hin