Chinese artist Wang Tingxin hopes to make an impression on the international art world at her first exhibition outside Hong Kong, which continues in London's Halcyon Gallery until March 26.
|Wang Tingxin works in her studio in Hong Kong.
Courtyard of the Soul is an exploration of light and color on black canvas in which the 44-year-old combines traditional Chinese brush work with aspects of French impressionism to create something distinctly hers.
Although there are subtle nods to the later paintings of Claude Monet in her work, Wang also shows traditional Chinese elements in her depictions of water lilies.
"A Chinese scenery painting leaves a lot of room for imagination," she said. "Both Chinese painting and impressionist painting have very strong links because they emphasize, capture and express the feeling of a scene."
Wang was born in Hong Kong in 1973, where she still lives. In addition to finding her creativity through Western artwork, she also finds it close to home.
"My grandmother took me to Beijing and we visited the Summer Palace where we saw a magnificent lily pond and she taught me the Chinese philosophy behind it," Wang said.
In Chinese culture, water lilies are symbols of purity, goodness and elegance, despite having roots in shallow, often murky, waters.
"My grandmother taught me, in life, no matter how messy the world can become and what kind of challenges and temptations we face, we still need to remember to hold our values and beliefs," she said. "So, this teaching has guided me through life and whenever I see lily ponds, it reminds me of my grandmother's teachings."
For her Courtyard of the Soul collection at the Halcyon Gallery, each piece is produced on xuan paper-an ancient variety of paper that originated in Anhui province, where materials go through more than 140 processes to create the fine, smooth and tenacious texture.
Wang explained: "The reason I use black paper is because I believe the world was dark at its inception and I found that when I started to paint on black paper, it opens up my imagination and I feel excited about creating things on it."
Wang left Hong Kong in 1989 to study in Canada. When she returned, she wanted to deepen her understanding of her origins and studied Chinese culture, with a focus on painting and calligraphy.
Her first solo exhibition was held in Hong Kong in 2015.
Paul Green, president of Halcyon Gallery, said: "Wang Tingxin is an incredible talent and, from her work here, the influences and the relationship between impressionism and Chinese culture is fascinating.
"There are relatively few famous female artists in the world so it is a real privilege to have Wang Tingxin's work here and to see the massive progress she is making internationally."