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Jingjing Guan 

Jingjing Guan was born in Henan Province, China. She graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Art in 2005. After, she had her advanced studies at the Material Art Studio of the Central Academy of Fine Arts Oil Painting Department. Five of her works have been published in the textbook Oil Painting Education—the Material Art Studio, published by Peking University Press for the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China. She has participated in the Edinburgh Arts Festival, Scotland, UK, and was selected the Annually BAZAAR ART First Feature 100 Favorite Artworks of 2013 by Bazaar Art Magazine.

Jingjing Guan is consistently described as possessing the wisdom and commanding presence of an old master. Indeed, her powerful Untitled (2008) series of black paintings carry the mystery and majesty not of a young woman then still in her 20s, but of an artist drawing on a lifetime of knowledge and experience.

Her works were described as: “The blank plane becomes a receptacle, listening to the massive descent of black, allowing black to begin its own event and gain its own mass, the mass of the soul. To bear this great blackness clearly requires great artistic courage. The blackness affirms the sublimity of abstract painting. This sublimity is not the incisive moment of western art, but a massive collection of empathy, a surpassing and blurring of boundaries. But because of the staggering of the blackness itself and the subtle shifts in colour tone, this sublimity contains empathy and pity from the inner mind.” She insists that she could never have pursued a trend for the purpose of recognition or success, believing that art emanates from the heart.The development of a personal, non-figurative painting style from art-school training to the present stage, at the age of 30, is for Guan Jingjing tantamount to a journey that could not have been planned or designed; rather it is a question of finding an appropriate means of expressing her life and her concepts of what life entails. She has developed a unique path in her art at a very early stage of her career, and is highly articulate. In each work, she confronts a metaphysical void; in each, the mental preparation for the work is often significantly longer than the time required to complete the actual work. She pays homage to the long classical tradition in Chinese culture of painting and poetry, both of which are underpinned by calligraphy. Calligraphy informs the very physicality of each painted gesture: her images are often created as if by a form of repetitive writing, which allude to time and space. Jingjing’s art is a visual poetry, an art of imagination and mindfulness.

Her Remnant Mountain series is rendered in the tempera techniques of western classical painting. This medium, after repeated applications and washings, leaves behind a fading shadow of ancient Chinese landscape painting in a continuation of what the Chinese artist Dong Qichang (1555-1636) called the southern literati painting tradition. Guan Jingjing expresses her conviction that the dual onslaught of autocracy and modernity must be resisted, and that the Chinese must return to their roots.

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