Ma Ye: China Scenery

October 20 - November 14, 2021
Press Release

LATITUDE Gallery New York is pleased to present an exhibition of works by contemporary Chinese artist Ma Ye. Gathering together four oil paintings on canvas and three sculptures, the exhibition focuses on the artist’s use of Chinese traditional scenery paintings and dramatic figures through a lens of romance, in exploration of the history and reality, the lost, the remains, and emotional sensibility. On view at 64A Bayard Street from October 21st through November 15th, 2021, the artist’s first solo show with LATITUDE Gallery in New York. 

The paintings in the exhibition, created after the year of 2000, build on the history of Ma Ye’s personal artist practice and his prolonged interest in the stylistic figure drawing, also referred as anthro-landscape or Chinese cultural landscape imagery with social commentary, as his imperative subject. Similarly to the artist’s other figurative portraits, such as the Who is She

series, employing the male-gaze perspective as baits, Chinese Scenery lures the audiences into the endless game of contemplating on genders, feminism, and powers. In this series, upon the capture of audiences, Ma Ye, then, introduces his deepest introspection on his Chinese identity and reality.

In this collection of works, a novel compositional dynamic has emerged through the traditional figures and sceneries. Ma Ye always has his unique way to paint, with different painting languages such as borrowing traditional Chinese ink painting and temperament outlook. He puts his artistic vision to the ordinary people, to the ordinary group's living reality, and to the comparison and unity between history and reality. In his paintings, the romantic and playful young women are not only the lure but embodiments of the publicity of human nature on one hand, unveil some irony of protest as well as joking character on the other hand. 

A powerful contradiction as well as confusions and irony emerges. The figures drift upon the canvas, balance on beautiful Chinese landscapes, and even float within the Great Wall—projecting a sense of isolation and alienation from their environments. 

Using the collaging of natural and cultural landscapes, the artist introduces more depth of history and reality to intensify the alienation towards people of the vast changes and development. Not only do the Great Wall and the Tiananmen Square stand as a  sort of dream-like jet-legged scenes, which are quite nastogic and memorable, but also the figures that are wearing the color of naive and teasing. In this exhibition, under this melancholy way of atmosphere, Ma Ye continued his dialog to expand the ambiguity of the traditional landscape and Figurative painting within the context of Chinese society.  The technical and figurative composition of the works gives the artist a chance to render the cultural landscape that was heavily changed by the rapidly developed technology and society.

 Curation and text by shuang cai