Xu Maomao’s show, titled “Wonderland,” exhibit confident examples of individualist expression and stand apart from what one may expect to see when one thinks of Chinese contemporary art.
Her works represent a new era of expressive freedom in China and of mainland culture in general. She is living in a unique time in China’s history and the works of these new artists are devoid of the typical rants against commercialism or angst caused by vestiges of the Cultural Revolution. A product of the China of today, these young artists comment on not only Communism and authority but the fast paced and unstoppable modernizing of the country with seemingly contradictory feelings of ecstasy and sorrow caused by the head-spinning pace of all changes witnessed in their lives. The artists of the new generation are emboldened with expressiveness that cut deep and are unafraid to inject their individuality, emotions and dreams into their art.
Her works are compelling flights of imagination where the viewer can enter a bold new territory. Her works border on some dream-like space somewhere between reality and non-reality perhaps a new sort of psychotic surrealistic exploration. Witness the symbols, the themes of self-discovery and magic that pervade the canvas. These works are courageous and challenge the viewers notions of their typical use of vocabulary. Perhaps it is some connection to our inner-childlike dream state that we somehow innately feel but cannot articulate. Because of the diverse array of images and colors, sometimes contrasting strongly with each other, the resulting works have a sense of wit, humor and satire to them. The combination of personal experience and vivid imagination that manifests itself onto the canvas will provide the viewer with a stimulation of the imagination if one stops for a moment to step inside the Wonderland.
“The paintings may seem fanciful and pleasant but, in actuality, the things we are expressing are realistic and even merciless. The colors in my paintings are highly contrasted and have a conflicted feel to them. Every fairytale has its roots in life experience. As such, I liken it to some kind of wonderland.”