Hua Nian Art Studio














Grandma died, two days after our wedding. She was there in her funeral, the first time in my life I saw a dead person from such a close distance – eyes closed, expressionless face – was she listening to people greeting each other and telling stories about her?... Grandma was left in the cemetery alone, wearing the dress she made, hands crossed over her belly, waiting for strangers to bury her...

The strong contrast of these two successive events triggered my thoughts and haunted me, since I realized that strongly contrasting images–dots, lines, tumultuous spaces, and permeating colors–keep coming back over and over in my paintings.

Being brought up in China, a country whose culture cherishes the past, I was taught all my earlier life to master the lessons refined by our predecessors, to achieve the goals expected by society. The past had built up a closed tradition in which I felt content and secure. But after several years living in America, and especially since meeting my husband, I have been bombarded by new events happening everyday. I was terrified to discover that the world is actually moving tumultuously, open-ended and unpredictable, constantly correcting itself. Overcoming itself is the world’s nature, as it is ours.

Once I realized that I could not consult or rely on the past when dealing with this dynamic world, especially when I became aware that I don’t have to be framed in another’s experience, I felt greatly disturbed by feelings of fear, loss and guilt; yet I sensed a thrill of excitement run through my body–a thrill of energy, anxiety, ambition and hope.

I am a dot, singing, dancing, without knowing where I am; I am a line, streaming forward with no return. Lines are dots on the move, they pass through multiple dimensions and cross each other–various shapes and forms generate themselves; dots are the splatters of streaming lines, they balance the picture with flexibility, decorate the picture with magic and romance, create uproar and resilient vigor without restraint. If we see the world in the view of a line or a dot, it seems chaotic; however, if we see the world in a grand scale, it is roaring forward and expanding, manifesting a majestic, vehement beauty. To catch the spirit of this dynamic world, I think more as a photographer with an imaginary camera than as a painter–instead of choosing images to fit the frame, I try to use the frame to find the most vivid sections of this world without disturbing its own movement.

I feel sad but relieved about Grandma’s death; her descendants are refreshing her blood. Among the bodies of our forgotten builders, life is surging, permeating, shuttling back and forth...

-Hua Nian



Hua Nian
March of Red Marks
30"x 38"
oli on canvas

"Hua Nian's 'March of the Red Marks' oil painting practically leaps from the canvas, becoming many things in the eye of the beholder."- Kevin M. Williams, Chicago Sun-Times 1998

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