Show Preview | Tang Wei Min

Chicago, IL

Lotton Gallery, April 1-30

Tang Wei Min, Wisdom, oil, 24 x 20.

Tang Wei Min, Wisdom, oil, 24 x 20.

This story was featured in the April 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art April 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Award-winning artist Tang Wei Min’s figurative paintings have long offered viewers a colorful peek into the historic civilizations of his native China. In his latest collection of works, on view beginning April 1 at Lotton Gallery in Chicago, IL, the artist introduces yet another ancient Chinese culture to his oeuvre. It’s a highly anticipated exhibition for a few reasons, notes gallery director Christina Franzoso. “We haven’t had a solo show with Tang for at least three years,” she says. And, while the artist has amassed “a huge following,” adds Franzoso, he rarely releases his work to the U.S. market. “To have this many pieces by him at one time is a big deal.”

Tang unveils a dozen oil paintings, including several new additions to his Silk Road series, a collection that reflects his ongoing interest in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). Also, in a brand-new series titled Longshan Girls, the artist reaches even further into the past with three paintings that depict the Longshan culture, which flourished in northern China during the third millennium B.C. While all of Tang’s works lament his homeland’s vanishing ancient cultures, he says they also reflect vestiges of “old China” that still linger today, particularly in his ancestral village in southern China’s Hunan Province. “It is there that I see, feel, and observe the great past of my people,” he says. “I also travel to the lower Yellow River region, where several cultures from the distant past still coexist with modern civilization.”

Tang’s spirituality, like his heritage, has profoundly influenced his artwork. The artist, a practicing Zen Buddhist, incorporates various symbols of his faith throughout his portrait paintings. Prayer beads, medallions, headdresses, and other meaningful adornments frequently decorate his models’ costumes. “Mostly they symbolize good life, fulfillment, good fortune, richness in wisdom, and health,” he says.

The artist’s detailed compositions also reveal diverse artistic influences, from the intense colors of the Pre-Raphaelites to Rembrandt’s unparalleled handling of light. Indeed, Tang’s proudest moment came when a Chinese magazine called him a “contemporary Chinese Rembrandt,” he says. “I consider Rembrandt to be my main teacher. I always look at how the absence or presence of light changes everything.” —Kim Agricola

contact information
312.664.6203
www.lottongallery.com

This story was featured in the April 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art April 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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