December 15, 2007 – January 19, 2008
Reception for the artist: Saturday, December 15, 6 – 8 pm

314 N. Crescent Heights Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 782-9404, fax (323) 782-9407
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Xu Hualing, “Eternal Beauty” (detail), 2007, watercolor on silk, 94 x 61 inches.

DF2 Gallery is pleased to announce the debut solo exhibition in the United States by Chinese artist Xu Hualing. In her latest series of paintings, made with watercolor on silk, the artist places this traditional and intricate technique in the service of investigating the subtle psychological nuances of the feminine condition experienced by the post-Mao generation in China.  Born in 1975, and informed by the Hong Kong and Taiwanese pop culture that flooded mainland China in the 1980's and '90's, Xu Hualing has long been fascinated with pulp novels, comic books and kung fu movies, recognizing strength, bravery, passion and sensuousness in their heroines. In her work, this powerful media driven identity is then contrasted with present day reality - a reality where women in a culturally male dominated society find themselves striving to attain ideals made popular by fiction.  These ideals can be attained, but to an imperfect degree.  The resulting exhaustion and loss of identity often ends in complacency and an elusive sadness.

In the two series of paintings exhibited at DF2 Gallery, Xu Hualing presents a studied examination of these themes.  As a child, she avidly collected martial arts illustrations and promotional kung fu film photographs of women, often coloring by hand the images of these idealized and heroic feminine archetypes.  Xu Hualing's childhood pastime is relived through her creation of soft and painstakingly detailed portraits of these actress/archetypes in watercolor on silk that she then subversively decodes by adding bright red magic marker accents to the lips and fingernails of each subject. Xu Hualing will also present a series of large vertical portraits of women she knows intimately.  Contrasting the fantasy based nature of the kung fu works, the artist here renders real-life women - captivating and sexual, yet at the same time tired, lonely and devoid of enthusiasm.  Together, these two series of paintings explore the dialectic of this contemporary dynamic.

Xu lives and works in Beijing China.

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