Crossing the Centuries: Bridging Cultures is a series of new paintings by UMass Boston alumnus Li Wang '17. Shortly after graduating, Wang traveled to Japan with the support of a Ruth Butler Travel Scholarship, which he was awarded to study traditional Buddhist and Ukiyo-e paintings. With the generous support of the scholarship, Wang was able to directly studied murals, paintings, and prints at the Nara National Museum, the Tokyo National Museum of Art, The National Museum of Western Art Tokyo, the Kyoto National Museum, the National Museum of Art Osaka, and the Fujita Art Museum, among others. His objective was to gain a better understanding of these artworks’ imagery, techniques, and materials to help inform the series of paintings that are presented in this exhibition.
These masterfully executed paintings invent complex compositions where disparate symbols, landscapes, and figures float and collide, deliberating how contemporary, historical, and geographical narratives can combine to create a third, hybrid image. The paintings are charged with political and cultural exchange, and advance intellectual, humorous, and aesthetic considerations of Eastern and Western art.
From the Artist
“My art is focusing on how I can make Eastern and Western, fusion art, together. I always try to find a way to use both art ideas, and style, for a new look. I was first educated in art in The People’s Republic of China, and then the United States of America. I enjoyed learning two kinds of cultures. These backgrounds influenced and built my artistic thought, outlooks, and philosophy so that it appears like two windows to pear though. I found out 14th century Japanese painting has some good ways to connect East and West, as well as the later Ukiyo-e. I want to create something new, something that hasn’t been done before.”
About the Artist
Li Wang has presented internationally at the Young Palace Gallery in Tai Yuan City in China, Healds Hall Gallery in West Yorkshire in Great Britain, Xin Shen Zhou Gallery in Singapore, and the Townhouse Gallery, and Contemporary Graphic art Gallery in West Virginia United State of America. His artworks have been published in Art Speaker and Manhattan Art Magazine. He was on the CLA Dean’s List at UMass Boston for three years out of his studies, and was awarded a Ruth Butler Travel Scholarship in 2017. Wang graduated from UMass Boston in spring 2017, and has accepted placement in the MFA program at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design for the fall of 2018.
The Ruth Butler Travel Scholarship was established in honor of Ruth Butler, professor emerita of art at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a distinguished scholar in the history of sculpture. While a student, Professor Butler won a Fulbright fellowship that allowed her to pursue research in France. Recognizing that her trip abroad was a life-changing event, she would like art majors at UMass Boston to have such an opportunity for contact with individuals and institutions in another country. The scholarship annually provides an art major with funding for travel outside the United States for the purpose of studying art. Preference is given to projects that promote the student’s understanding of a culture other than the student’s own. Funded projects are focused on art historical research or studio work.
Crossing the Centuries: Bridging Cultures was organized with support from UMass Boston student Christopher McDonald.
This University Hall Gallery exhibit will be open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from June 11 through June 22 and through July 13 by appointment. To schedule a vist outside of the public viewing dates, email UHGallery@umb.edu.