Inside the Exhibit: Wang Dawei - Insider.Outsider

By Zoey Zha, January 9, 2015

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In his latest solo exhibition, Shanghainese artist Wang Dawei captures slices of daily life from his hometown. Insider.Outsider is a celebration of the seemingly mundane, with its scenes of lively card-playing elders, people walking their dogs and other common sights that Wang observed at the park and sitting on the curb people watching.

“I won’t choose far-fetched or abstract themes, which I personally can’t relate to and which constantly prove to distance audiences,” Wang says.

The show takes places at FQ Projects, a petite art gallery that’s a secret gem at the end of a tranquil alley by Shaanxi Nan Lu. It’s an appropriate location, as his pieces reflect Shanghai’s history as does the surrounding neighborhood.

Picking up an interest in ink painting while in high school, Wang never envisioned the day he would become an artist. “I guess when you started to get paid from it, it becomes your livelihood,” he says.

Since graduating from the Fine Art College of Shanghai Normal University in 2009, Wang has already participated in group exhibitions in countries like the USA, UK, Singapore and Australia. His works were praised earlier this year at the Shanghai International Contemporary Art Fair.

For Insider.Outsider, Wang is presenting works that continue his experimentation of mixing traditional ink painting with modern materials. Two paintings that hold significant meaning to him are displayed on the third floor. He uses an oil-bound painting powder applied on a cement brushed base on the canvas that generates more richness in terms of texture. 

A rather noticeable touch in his work is the unbalanced composition of facial expressions. Though it could be due to the nature of the ink’s affect on canvas, Wang clarifies that it’s because he wanted to put some extra flair into them. 

“They seem to be quite entertained themselves, but their faces suggest stories otherwise,” Wang continues, “That’s a way to depict the happiness of vulgarity. That speaks for the majority of us nowadays.”

// Until Jan 23. Tues-Sun, 11am-7pm. FQ Projects.

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