Wendy Jia is from the new generation of young Chinese ink painters breaking new ground by taking the traditional Chinese ink painting to new subject areas. In particular, she explores humanistic themes. Her works examines people and their relationship with the urban environment around them – loneliness, bewilderment, search for meaning, and the often fleeting moments of connection between people that for a brief moment spell all kinds of possibilities. Instead of the mountains and rivers of traditional Chinese ink paintings, her landscapes are the new urban realities of modern China and beyond.
On first inspection, the people in her paintings appear as simple, featureless stick figures. Yet there are incredibly fine nuances in the pose; a head slightly cocked that conveys the individual’s curiosity, or a tensed shoulder that suggests alertness and caution. Hers is a silent world of unspoken feelings.
Stairways are a frequent motif in her paintings. They seem to connect and bridge the gulf between people and often lead into light or open space. This metaphor is often coupled with her daring use of contrasting light and darkness to create scenes of quiet drama.