Friday, October 15, 2010

Imperial Tectonics: Transformations I & II @ Mindy Solomon Gallery and The Morean Arts Center. Part II (of three).

There is a suite of four exquisite paintings in the Mindy Solomon Gallery by Diane Ding. In three of the four paintings (I will treat the other separately), there are two figures. The one to the viewer's right is Caucasian/male and the one on the left Asian/female. They wear brightly colored clothing that denote class, social standing, and culture. In these three paintings, the Western male figure looks back at the viewer, apparently unaware of the other figure. The look is overconfident, if not arrogant -- or imperial. The feminine Asian figures look disturbed, ill-at-ease, almost in disbelief. The juxtapositions partially seem to reflect Imperial Tectonics. Ms. Ding includes birds in these paintings, plants and fans as well.  The tension between the two figures is exacerbated by the way the very air between the two is drawn, with strong, nervous lines or paint that looks like bruises.

 The 4th painting shows a baby tightly hugging (or wrestling) a carp. The baby's face looks much older than it should. He holds on to the carp as if holding onto a prize. Ms. Ding told me that if one looks carefully, the scales on the carp are in the form of ancient Chinese money. This is a parable on growing up Chinese, and the pressures children are under to be successful, even from an early age.

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