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artscope magazine: September/October 2011
Welcome Statement: Brian Goslow, managing editor
cornered: PAULA TOGNARELLI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE GRIFFIN MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Then and Now: The Enduring Allure of Light in Photography
Andy Moerlein and Donna Dodson: In a Collaborative Spirit
The Tides of Provincetown: Pivotal Years in America’s Oldest Continuous Art Colony 1899-2011
The Ties that Bind: The Legacy of The Provincetown Art Colony.
David Lang: OK, NOW WHAT? Inventions, Contraptions and Flights of Fancy
Jo Ann Rothschild: Waverly Road
Shen Wei: Chinese Sentiment
For the Record: Searching for Objectivity in Global Conflict
Artist spotlight: Michael Hecht
Stereo Stills: 3D Photography by Max Alexander, Jeff Bukhman, Jim Ferguson, Jon Golden, Dan Gosch, Rob Jaczko, Bob Karambelas and Ron Labbe
Barthelson, Crane: here, now
DownStreet Art
American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-White
Full Circle: Dahlov Ipcar's Circle Paintings, with a Round of Marguerite and William Zorach
Denise Duong: The Art of Journeying
The Genteel Madman: Ron Karpius at Brattleboro-West Arts
Exposed 2011: 20th Annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition
Beth Robinson: Art Dolls
gallery profile Gallery Z 259 Atwells Avenue Providence, Rhode Island
Wanderlust: The artist workspaces of 450 Harrison
Capsule Previews
Shen Wei: Chinese Sentiment
Franklin W. Liu


Shen Wei’s aptly-titled fine arts photographic exhibition of 22 evocative and poetically austere, nostalgic images were astutely captured while visiting many Chinese provinces as well as in Shanghai, where he was born 34 years ago.



The images of “Chinese Sentiment” are a provenance of traditional landscapes, juxtaposed with up-close, idiosyncratic flashes of intimate snapshots showing private moments of nude individuals reposing in their room. An unmistakable, stark quietude dominates.



Wei insists his work is a personal examination of private individuals’ emotions and places. A viewer, however, cannot escape the larger cultural context within which his work exists: the artist is born Chinese, raised in Shanghai, delivering images of ordinary Chinese people who live in China. His roots and early memories spring from there.



It is said that we are all gripped by sentimentality because we feel the same emotions and follow the same traditions that were embraced by countless others preceding us; these emotional anchors crescent in childhood, subordinate in adulthood and are often taken for granted in life, like each breath of air we draw.



Wei’s photographic images of landscapes convey a cultural tradition of 5000 years of unbroken Chinese history, of dynastic values and philosophy; albeit today, the rhythm of daily life keens with hardship under communism.



Art Institute of Boston Gallery Director of Exhibitions Andrew Mroczek was emphatic that Wei does not intend his work to be an embedded commentary on totalitarianism. Nonetheless, when a dichotomy exists between an artist’s stated intentions and the viewer’s perception of the work, the viewer will infuse visceral meaning into it, as when exposed to interactive, installation art.



One of Wei’s images, “Maze,” shows a walk-through maze constructed in a park in Fujian Province. Four layers of concentric concrete walls are set higher than an adult’s head, while some paths lead to dead ends. Within the second ring, a solitary figure is barely visible; only her head may be seen from a bird’s eye view. She stands immobilized, trapped. In the foreground is a row of tall, slender bamboo trees, rising eerily like prison bars. Now, is this an image of an individual meandering for fun, or someone seeking desperate deliverance from a symbolic detention of free will? I say the latter; perhaps it is my subjective imagination running amuck.




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