Wake Up Dreaming— Bai Xuejuan
Curator: Wang Bei
Art Director: Luo Fei
Academic Host ：Sun Guojuan
Duration : 2017-5-27 ——2017-6-17
Address: TCG Nordica, Xiba Road 101#, Kunming
Forest NO.12 Oil on canvas 80×60cm 2016
Handmade variable size
Painting Makes the Soul Visible (excerpt)
By Luo Fei
On a number of palm sized notebooks, a great many variety of colorful patterns filled the pages. There appear to be some traces of natural growth. One of the covers reads: I’m afraid of waking up, for the dream would be gone. The one who didn’t want to wake up from her dream is Bai Xuejuan, a painter from Yunnan and is now living in Gejiu, a small city in southern China only about 200 kilometers away from Vietnam. She’s a high school teacher there. However, she’s been painting about Nordic islands in recent years: places where human beings are few, forests deep, and iced rivers flowing.
This is due to the residence program that Bai joined in the Nordic Watercolor Museum between February and April 2011 in Sweden. For this three months program on Tjörn, she witnessed how the ice melted in Scandinavia, and the rigid winter changed to the warm early spring. She spent these whole three months in her cabin next to the Pacific. Two diaries were jotted down and countless watercolors painted. And only a few new friends visited her occasionally. The minimalism manifested naturally around her in Northern Europe began to fascinate her. Even back to the mountains of Yunnan, those images related to the Tjörn kept coming back to appear on her paintings. I can feel the characteristic transparency unique to the Nordic in both her watercolors and oil paintings, light and thin, loose and soft. The free-flowing in her paintings is reminiscent of Edvard Munch. Just that one doesn’t sense the desperate darkness, but the bright and poetic flowing.
For Bai Xuejuan, cultural collision and blending are external and concrete, and she does not study art as a cultural matter. When it comes to art, by following the experience deep inside of her heart, she’s been continuously recording like diaries the trajectory of her inner feedback on life, surroundings and her own feelings. She captured in her paintings those moments like cruising the sea, walking in the night or strolling aimlessly. Those are the times that the burden of reality was kept at a distance, and the ones for thoughts and drifting away. To drift is both for the soul to breathe and to escape.
Rather than delving into the texture of a particular piece of leaves or a stone on the ground, Bai does not regard the world as a stable substance, but a series of flowing, breathable and free forms. Going up and down, they are plain and simple, yet grow like a poetry. They are as free as if one falls into a trance. At this very moment, painting makes the soul visible.
Falling in Love with Painting
– by Sun Guojuan
It was about two or three years ago that I saw Bai Xuejuan’s paintings for the first time, and I’ve been deeply impressed by her talent since. It seems that she has never had any problem to paint or to express herself. Her color is unusually elegant, she always paints with thin oil and light color. The objects we see in her works are no longer those in real life, they are images filtered by her heart. Her paintings are both warm, mild like the ink paintings and free, unrestrained like the oil paintings. Bai’s paintings are mostly landscapes, some are desolate, cold wildernesses with the wind blowing through, and others about being alone, and one can easily perceive the loneliness in life. At the same time, she is fascinated by anything around her, be it a window or a chair. More often than not how I would like to live in those beautiful places she painted. They are the ones people are yearning for, where they can dream and rest.
In retrospect, looking at those paintings that Bai has created from the time she graduated from the University, in a short period of six or seven years, the buildup and progress in her works could really make people like myself feel ashamed and jealous. Looking at her paintings, I always wanted to go and see how she did them. I am so curious that how a painter – who has been pushed forward by passion and the desire to expression – could work wonders as these. If you have chance to appreciate the works of Bai after her graduation till now, you will find out that paintings have taken a big part of time in her life, and of course you can tell that painting has always been the love she’s faithful to.
Female artists are the ones I’ve come to spend a lot time with. In my eyes there is always the beauty in them that is so clean and pure, and the aura over their heads so flickering like the flowers bestowed by the Heaven.
Landscape NO.112 50×28cm Watercolor on paper