lives and works
BFA, Department of Oil Painting, Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China, 2004
MFA, Department of Oil Painting, Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China, 2008
about the artist
Hailing from a generation fulfilled, or perhaps inundated, by the fruits of capitalism, Wang Lei paints exceptional pictures whose restrained tension and ambiguous pathos point to a consciousness well beyond her years. Little girls with no discernible expression and of disproportionate bodies populate her pictorial realm. Single or multiple alter egos of the artist herself, they are ostensibly defenseless yet silently defiant, much like the adorable yet rebellious protagonists whom Yoshitomo Nara so often portrays. The girls coexist yet don’t seem to openly interact, relying solely on a tacit understanding or an understood commonality. They stand in, they stare at, they sit on a dreamscape that is Surrealist in all registers, where skies blend into grounds, where platforms float on water, where escalators descend into meadows. Underneath the juxtaposed expanses of earthen tones, erratically disrupted by pockets of painted cracquelure, there lies an infinitude of ambivalent sentiments. In many ways a portrait of her own psyche, these heavily feminine compositions also recall the works of Lisa Yusakavage. Rampant through these pictures is an uneasiness about the manufactured environment, the inescapable urbanization, and the uncertain position of the human soul within all this. In beautifully textured brushwork and ethereal rendering of backgrounds, whether they are concrete roads, muddy lands crystalline waters, or even pine trees evocative of Hasegawa Tohaku’s screens, Wang reveals intimate meditations on her own, and in turn many others’, contemporary state of being.
Born in Sichuan Province, China, in 1980, Wang currently lives and works in Chongqing. In 2004 and 2008 respectively, she acquired her BFA and MFA in oil painting from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. Since then, she has participated in group exhibitions across China, at venues such as the Shanghai World Trade Center, the Today Art Museum in Beijing, the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in Chongqing, and the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. Her work was also included in Roundabout, which traveled from the City Gallery Wellington in New Zealand to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel.