The Directors of Marlborough Gallery are pleased to announce that an exhibition of paintings by Shan Sa will open December 7, 2011 and continue through January 7, 2012. The exhibition will feature seventeen oil paintings, ranging in scale from 42 x 56 inches to an intimate 13 x 9 inches. Born in Beijing, Paris-based Shan Sa is celebrated as both a writer and a visual artist, recalling that in ancient China, poetry and painting were interwoven and formed a single whole that was the heart of Chinese art.
The writer and art critic Pierre-Jean Remy wrote of her paintings, “All her works are influenced by the greats of Chinese painting and poetry of the ancient dynasties…her paintings don’t illustrate her poems, they are the breathing of her soul.” This exhibition perfectly demonstrates the uninhibited baring of her inner thoughts to which Remy refers. The work Scared and Overjoyed (2010) conveys intense emotions not only through the words of the title, but with the contrasting vibrancy and darkness of the color palette and the turbulent, impasto brushstrokes. Differing from this piece, the painting Love Flames (2005) features soft, blended brushwork, and pigment in the center of the canvas that is so luminous it seems to glow.
Shan Sa describes her approach to creating these emotional, abstract works:
Before beginning a work, I collect my thoughts in front of the landscape which stretches out before me and contemplate the sky where clouds form abstract paintings at their will. In antiquity Chinese painters practiced meditation and contemplation before taking up the brush, for painting must represent not the world seen by one’s eyes but that of the world perceived by the mind. I am also an initiate of this ancestral law. Rays of light, the smell of paint, the rustling of canvases, sometimes the song of the birds that perch on my balcony take part in the birth of my works.
Born in Beijing, China, Shan Sa is both a celebrated writer and visual artist. Her first collection of poetry was published at age ten. Four years later, she became the youngest member of the Beijing Writer’s Association. In 1990, Shan Sa relocated to Paris, where she studied at l’École Alsacienne and l’Institut Catholique de Paris, and worked as an assistant to the painter Balthus. During her two years with Balthus, Shan Sa wrote her first novel in French, observed the work of a great master of figurative painting, and learned the métier of Western painting.
Shan Sa has written extensively, publishing seven novels that have been translated into over thirty languages. She also has had numerous solo exhibitions including ones at Elisabeth de Brabant Art Center, Shanghai, China; Macau Handover Museum, Macau, China; La Maison de la Chine, Paris, France; Fondation d’entreprise Ricard, Paris, France; Galerie Berthet-Aittouares, Paris, France; Takashimaya Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Takashimaya Gallery, Nagoya, Japan; and Ginza Chanel Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, among others.
Shan Sa is the recipient of numerous awards, including The National Laureate of Children’s Poetry (1984), Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2009) and Chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite (2011). The artist lives and works in Paris, France.