About the Artist

Wilson Shieh

Wilson Shieh lives in Hong Kong, where he was born in 1970. He studied traditional Chinese brush painting, called gongbi, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong from which he received a B.A. in 1994 and an M.F.A. in 2001. The next year he had a major exhibition at Hong Kong's best art gallery, Grotto Fine Art, where he continues to exhibit regularly. His works are in the collections of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, the Queensland Art Gallery, Australia, and the Ashmolean Museum Oxford, U.K. His career has only just begun.

"When I studied ancient Chinese figure paintings, I was captured by their extraordinarily strange but beautiful figural expressions," Shieh has said. The style of painting he uses was at its height of popularity in the year 800, but Shieh is a thoroughly modern man, having grown up with the violence of Tiananmen Square (1989) as a youthful memory and the transfer of Hong Kong's sovereignty from Great Britain to China (1997) as a mature one. His careful mastery of the delicacy and precision of gongbi painting mixes with a slightly surrealist sensibility, a sense of humor, and a poignant humanity.

Christopher Knight, Art Critic of the Los Angeles Times, says Shieh "uses precise contour drawing, transparent colors and amorphous space to render a sense of ageless fragility." Knight was reviewing an exhibition, Past in Reverse: Contemporary Art of East Asia at the San Diego Museum of Art. Sheh, he said, is one of the show's three (out of twenty-two) "most compelling artists." Shieh's work contains something of China's great sweeping history, but it also contains comments on contemporary culture. The past is in Shieh's style; in his subject matter are the present and the future.

-Kathan Brown