Surreal & Dreamlike Landscapes With Cacti, New York City-based Painter Jingyi Wang

Jingyi Wang (Chinese, b. 1989) is a New York based visual artist who specializes in oil painting. She received her BFA degree from China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2013, and received her MFA degree from New York Academy of Art in 2016. Her works have been widely exhibited at Art New York, Sotheby’s New York, the Metropolitan Pavilion, SFA advisory, Portraits Inc., Panepinto Galleries, X gallery, etc. Her art works are published in art magazines such as ArtMaze Mag, Creativepaper magazine, Studio Visit magazine, and Planet China. Her works have been reported by major media such as China Daily, The China Press, World Journal, Artron Net ,and she had a personal interview by New York Lounge in 2019.

Jingyi Wang was awarded an artist residency at the Terra Foundation of American Art in Giverny, France. Her solo exhibitions include “The Growing” (Amerasia Bank Gallery, New York, 2017), “My loneliness Is a Garden” (Art lines Gallery, 2018), “Soft Sting” (Times Arts Gallery, New York, 2019), and “Natural Social Distancing” (Four you Gallery, Online, 2021).

Porking, Oil on Canvas, 58″ x 72″, 2021

We’d love to hear how your journey has been so far. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Northeast China. I started painting when I was ten years old. In the beginning, I learned painting just for fun until I entered the fine arts school affiliated with China Central Academy of Fine Arts. I became interested in oil painting during high school. Since then, I have dreamed of being a professional painter. In 2009, I was admitted to the oil painting major of China Central Academy of Fine Arts. Later on, I move to New York City to pursue my MFA degree in the New York Academy of Art. I am currently a full-time artist based in NYC, and I also work in art education through Hualeme Education, which is an online education platform.

Cactus portrait, oil on panel, 10″x8″, 2021

You are well known for your cactus painting series. What ideas are you exploring in this particular project?

It has been almost 6 years since I started using cacti as my subject. Cacti symbolize my own feelings and attitude towards life. For me, they signify a helpless state and nervous emotions. My ‘silent desire’ series describes the growth of cacti in the room; the shade depicts a surreal natural scene with inescapable decaying. Following this, I created the cactus and balloon series. In the past two years, I have painted a new no-sketching series of hybrid cacti-human characters. The vision extends to dreamlike landscapes in indulgent pastel colors or nostalgic black and white. My cacti-human beings reflect the biological and psychological aspects of life, approaching the subtle and intimate intersubjectivity of humanity. With these elements and colors, I would always like to extend our bodies to the ground and mother nature, creating space for dialogue and collaboration among humans and nature.

Wandering Cactus, oil on canvas, 58″ x 40″, 2021

How do you define “success”? What do you consider to be the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far?

In fact, I think there is no clear definition of success. Everyone has a different understanding of it.

People might think having contributed to society or being a famous artist would be a huge success. While my mother always reminds me that being a kind person is more to be prioritized than being a successful artist.

I also believe that success is the moment to realize the dream. During my graduate study at the New York Academy of Art, I got chosen for a residency and painted in Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France. Claude Monet is the master who influenced me a lot during my school period. It was an unforgettable experience painting in his garden, and that made me think that my dream had come true. In recent years, when new inspiration comes out during my creative time, I also feel satisfaction. Nothing could be more exciting for me than learning from others and going beyond myself.

Sunshine, Rainbow and Unicon, oil on canvas, 34″ x26″, 2021
Desert fashion, oil on canvas, 42″ x 35″, 2021

What does “community” mean to you? How do you see yourself in a community?

Everyone needs communities. It reminds me of ancient Chinese philosopher Han Feizi’s saying “Gu zhang nan ming,” which means “it’s impossible to clap with one hand.” We are social animals, so communities are significant.

Artists need to do meaningful things together. The artist communities provide newsletters, relief programs, and workshops to fulfill artists’ needs. Artists can make new friends, set up new exhibitions, and get together.

For me, I have encountered Asian artist communities. I have participated in two group exhibitions so far in 2021, which revolve around anti-discrimination: PARALLELS & PERIPHERIES curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah and The Push exhibition organized by The Push group.

Zoom Happy Hour, Oil on linen, 46″ x 58″, 2021

What are you working on right now?

I am preparing for exhibitions coming next. There will be two group shows and a solo show next year. 2022 will be a busy year.

Hairdressing, oil on canvas, 35.5″x 25.5″, 2021

Do you have any advice to offer to our readers?

Work hard, enjoy life, live in the present moment.

text & photo courtesy of Jingwing Wang

Author: Adrian D. Cameron

Conservatory-trained theatre artist developing methods and techniques devoted to modern approaches in performance

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