Although she has already had solo exhibitions in other cities such as London, New York, Madrid, and Beijing, this will be her first exhibition in her homeland Taiwan. To commemorate this meaningful moment in her life, she will include sculpture in her oeuvre in addition to her drawings and paintings.
Wang’s works are a blend of Eastern and Western aesthetics. She grew up in a rural Taiwanese family, and was influenced by traditional culture, folk stories, and Buddhist and Taoist philosophies of life. She was later educated in London art schools where she began to develop her painting in response to her sense of location between cultures. Thus, it was natural for the dynamic layers of her work to contain elements of both worlds. In these paintings, we find both an awareness of the history and principles of Chinese landscape painting, which led the artist towards a rhythmic concept of painting, and an understanding of the methods and ideas of European and American abstraction. The result, of this positioning between aesthetic concepts is a highly individual approach to making paintings, which draws on both traditions, while deconstructing aspects of their visual language.
In this way, Wang equates changes within her own life with those changes that have occurred in the external landscape and her experience of it during her lifetime i.e. environmental, industrial and geographic. As she writes, "If there is one central idea in all my paintings it is the idea of taking apart a personal world and reconstructing it piece by piece. It is the idea of a reality, which is continually in a state of flux or dissolution, fragmenting and then becoming whole, before falling apart again. I believe there has been an irrevocable change in our relationship to the world and this inheres in all forms of human expression."
In her earlier works, Wang used rich colors that she then painted over with black and white, which in turn created a softer palette that was reminiscent of Turner’s paintings. Although she mainly lives in London, she regards Taiwan as her true home, and a major turning point in her work occurred, as a result of the emotional distance to home, particularly after close family members passed away, and this gave rise to stylistic developments on the canvas. In the new works, calligraphic and fragmented forms were layered in abstractions, which conveyed great movement and depth through a swooping and swirling in fluid motion. Her canvases are large for she hopes to invite viewers to wander into her imaginary world, much like how scholars of earlier dynasties would lose themselves travelling in the mountains of landscape paintings.
The sculpture in this exhibition is the result of a new collaborative project: Pulman & Wang, which involves the artist Suling Wang and the British artist Daniel Pulman. Following studying together at The Royal College of Art, the two artists married and have shared a studio in London for over a decade. This will be the first time these works have been shown, and marks the beginning of a new artistic endeavor, which will develop in parallel to their own individual practices. The sculpture employs the use of local materials such as bamboo, sticky rice, brown sugar, clay, straw, century-old roots, and reeds. This new piece is inspired, in part, by the traditional architecture of Taiwan, a concept of “home”, and is a direct response to the two artists setting up a studio in a small village in rural Taiwan, but more broadly, the work is concerned with our relationship to nature as represented through direct contact with form and material. Charcoaled tree branches are placed within a realistic re-creation of a roof-less home, and for Suling in particular, this work traces the nostalgia she holds for her past as well as her roots in Taiwan.
Suling Wang left Taichung for London in 1993, completed her B.A. from Central Saint Martins by 1997, and then received her M.A. from the Royal College of Art in 1999. She was invited to participate in a group exhibition at the National Gallery in London, where her work sat among Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, etc. The Guggenheim in New York, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Utah Museum of Fine Art, and Cincinnati Art Gallery are among the famous art spaces that hold her works in their permanent collection.