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Art from a Wild Heart
Cao Yilin, or Mandi Egan, is having an exhibition in west Shanghai's Avant Garde Gallery. The exhibition will move to Ningbo in Zhejiang Province, next month.

The artist, taking her Western surname from her German husband, lives in Australia and chooses Shanghai as her second base, because "more art works are sold in Shanghai than in any other place in China".

Renting an apartment in the Painters' Village, she plans to spend a few months every year in Shanghai over the next few years.

Cao, 33, has a homely look but a wild heart. Her works, mainly abstract oil paintings, capture the effect of Chinese water-ink paintings.

She painted her work layer by layer, often tens of times. "The picture looks rich in this way," she said. Her lines and strokes are powerful and wild, but the choice of colour is soft and lyrical, showing the feminine aspect of the artist.

Most of the works on display were made in China. A few were typically Australian: the clear blue ocean joining the horizon, the Sydney Opera House in different shades and colours.

Graduating from Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, she held exhibitions in Beijing, Malaysia and went for further study in Australia. She started work in the art trade in 1997.

The gallery, located on Xianxia Lu, is run by another artist, Chen Fan. Hidden in some secret corners are Chen's large-size portrait oil paintings, mostly happy young women with disproportionate big faces in very bright colours.

January 4-24

Avant-garde Gallery

1396 Xianxia Lu

Tel: 6290-4725

February 1-21

Ge De Gallery

No.48 Lane 68, Fuqiao Jie, Ningbo, Zhejiang

(Shanghai Star January 13, 2003)

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