The Top 10 Chinese Artists (Not Named Ai Weiwei)
Born in Hunan, Xiangtan, 1968. Mao Yan graduated from Centry Academy of Fine Arts in 1991 majoring in oil painting. He currently lives and works in Nanjing. The meaning in Mao Yan’s endeavors does not lie in the idea of ”portraits”. Rather, his works are “paintings of portraits”-borrowing the contour and movement of a character in order to substantialize outline, color, and composition. It is within the framework of realism that such deep, subtle inquiries into human mentality can be made. In the end, a simple painting is no more than another way of viewing the world; the significance of Mao Yan’s works is founded precisely in this point, as it has not inherited the static and noise of the generation. In the past few years, Mao Yan holds individual exhibition in Beijng,Geneva,New York and Paris.
Image rights: Courtesy of MAO YAN STUDIO / 版权归属 毛焰工作室
Venue: Qiao Space, Shanghai (2016)
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.
Chinese, b. 1968, Xiangtan, Hunan Province, China, based in Nanjing, China