Hua Nian Art Studio


















Hua Nian
Spirit Houses
26" x 30"
acrylic on canvas

Enter Gallery of Undiscovered Tablets




Archaeological excavations always fascinate me, for they arouse the awareness of who I am and where I am. Tablets, carrying messages from the past, are especially mysterious and intriguing. Contrary to those that have actually been discovered—pale, cold, worn and forgotten—I have made these imaginary tablets vigorous. To rejuvenate them, I technically push the intensity and the temperature of the colors to their maximum luminosity, then dramatically set off the tablets as if on center stage. Enveloped by the burning colors, these tablets are warm, vibrating and breathing, emerging from the dark and the deep. They draw one in like wells, for the messages themselves are drifting too—colors permeating, lines running into each other, reconstructing themselves, shapes shifting in and out… This is a world that I have sensed ever since I came to the United States—spontaneous, onrushing, multi-dimensional, beautiful and mysterious.

Contrary to my earlier “open composition,” these images are centered and further placed in the irregular borders to form tablet shapes. This “closed composition” arouses a sense of calm and control. The border around the image serves as a window or lens, it creates a physical barrier between the viewer and the scenes—instead of involving the viewer in an eventful, tumultuous world, as in my earlier works, I am instead stepping backward, peeking through the window from a distance with enjoyment—a present state of mind in my life after experiencing feelings of fear, loss and anxiety.

Most of the works here are made from watercolor and pastel: the former, transparent and painterly; the latter, opaque and graphic. While watercolor runs together to create unexpected effects, pastel faithfully records every touch of the artist. If the former helps me to convey a feeling of spontaneity, the latter grants me a sense of control. Searching for the balance between these two not only helps me project my inner vision in an artistic way, but also satisfies my psychological needs of introspection, for I have long been struggling on the balance beam between the freedom of American culture and the restriction of Chinese culture.

Painting for me is a meditation about life. By solving these pictorial problems— dimensional over flat, motional over static, spontaneity over control, present over past, etc., I am actually practicing my life experience over and over on the painting surface, looking for the enlightenment and the balance within.

- Hua Nian









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