Movements: Paintings by Shen Wei

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Movements: Paintings by Shen Wei

522 West 19th Street
New York, NY 1011
July 23rd, 2007 - August 17th, 2007


Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of Shen Wei Movements on July 23, 2007. This is Shen Wei’s first solo exhibition of his abstract paintings in New York City, which is held in conjunction with the premier of Second Visit to the Empress at the Lincoln Center Festival from July 24-July 29, 2007. This special performance exhibits Shen Wei’s unique blend of dance, virtuosic music and dialog into his first opera production.

Shen Wei is a painter, costume and set designer, photographer, film-maker, dancer and choreographer. Most commentaries on Shen Wei reverse the order of his accomplishments since, of course, he has gained fame primarily as a dancer and choreographer. Yet the visual arts have played a key role in the development of his choreography since the premieres of Folding and Near the Terrace in 2000 and from childhood his interest in painting has often rivaled in intensity his devotion to dance and music. The use of paint and canvas is simply another means of expression for Shen Wei. Painting provides him a different kind of control over the composition and elicits a tangible expression of his creativity, one that dance does not allow. Shen Wei’s blends his choreography and music to create paintings transforming canvases into continuous loops and dynamic lines. His brushstrokes relay an energy that is a visible result of his choreographed movements. With long strokes and abrupt stops, Shen Wei is able to explore color adding depth and dimension to his sharp rhythmic turns and spirals.

Shen Wei was born in Hunan Province in 1969. His father was a traditional Chinese Opera performer, director and costume designer and his mother was a theater producer.  Living in the building that housed the theater, he was from his earliest years exposed to the world of music and dance. With his two brothers, he received instruction in Chinese painting and calligraphy from his father.

Traditional painting is divided into two major categories, gongbi and xieyi. The former is associated with the Northern or Academic style and is characterized by details brushwork and close attention to details while the latter is associated with the Southern or Literati style. Initially Shen Wei favoured the gongbi manor, painting a series of landscapes that he still remembers fondly, but since 2002, he has returned to more approaches characterized by the term xieyi in Chinese. To a considerable extent, his development as a painter has developed within these parameters that he was first exposed to as a young boy, the more abstract xieyi approach conquering gongbi in his painting after 2002.

While his dance and choreography career has taken flight, Shen Wei’s attention is constantly pulled back to painting. Chambers Fine Art is delighted to share these works to his admiring audience.