Mao Yan 毛焰
Chinese, born 1968
1,213 followers
Blue chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Selected exhibitions
2016
Talking on Paper,
Pace Gallery
2013
THE GARDEN OF DIVERSION,
Sifang Art Museum
ShanghART Summer Show,
ShanghART

Mao Yan’s luminous, soft-colored oil portraits place his sitters in quiet abstract settings, capturing them without any prominent emotion or expression and often only simple outlines for clothing. Mao attempts to use as few brushstrokes as possible in an effort to simplify form and capture an essence rather than a likeness. “I don’t pay more attention to representation of individuality; excessive attention to representation could only lead to narrow-mindedness,” he has said. Mao is perhaps best known for his “Thomas Series” (1998-2009), a collection of nearly 100 portraits of a close friend and Luxembourgish expatriate named Thomas who, by the end of the series, resembles an ethereal shadow, his likenesses bathed in so much light and movement as to verge on abstraction.