Wei Xiaoming, 45, has spent many years challenging his talents as an artist. From decorative designs to printmaking, from sculptures to architecture, he has experimented diverse categories of visual arts in the past 20 years and displayed unusual excellence in each of these areas.
Ten years after he returned to the motherland after studying art in Europe, Wei, an associate professor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, presented a major solo show on the new campus of the top Chinese art school.
The exhibition includes more than 150 of his recent works, primarily bronze sculptures, prints and watercolors.
"I don't belong to the active type of artists who frequently exhibit their works. Each time I have an exhibition, I would like to show the audience something I believe to be mature," Wei said.
From the exhibits, visitors will be able to see for themselves the distinctive personal style and artistic concepts characteristic of Wei, a graduate from the Beijing-based Central Academy of Arts and Crafts in 1981 and the Vienna Arts Institute in Austria in 1988.
"Figuration is the carrier of Wei Xiaoming's visions. He does not pass by the anatomy of the body without heeding it, but its perfect presentation is not an issue for him," remarked Eva Choung-Fux, an Austrian art professor.
Wei's works basically take a figurative view but also bear the influences of European modern art and traditional Chinese culture in their exaggerated shapes and melodious rhythms.
"I created all the figures in my works merely based on imagination. I never use a model when I sculpt or paint," he noted.
"The only thing I am concerned with is how to express my true feelings and emotions through the visual art forms. Whether my works are abstract or figurative becomes not so important for me."
According to Wei, the exhibition is also a presentation of his long-held view that art education in a modern society should break away from the narrow traditional conception that an artist should focus on one specific area.
"What is internationally accepted today, however, is that a modern artist should be versatile, with more diverse skills and knowledge. Can you say Picasso is just an oil painter or sculptor?" Wei said.
With these beliefs, Wei studied printmaking, sculpting and architecture during his six years in Europe, going beyond his previous major of designing in China.
Now teaching print-making at the central academy, Wei has enthusiastically involved himself in sculpting, especially producing public sculptures for Chinese cities.
Wei Xiaoming has traveled far away from his birthplace in the small southern city of Beihai in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
"With great devotion and unusual diligence, he is building an artistic palace in his heart and a road to the future of Chinese art," said Xu Sa, a Chinese art critic.
(China Daily May 20, 2002)