Jacob Charles Wilson

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Faye Wei Wei at the CFCCA

for ArtAsiaPacific
A painting of two people behind a statue's head and a bull's head.

Recently I went up to Manchester to see Faye Wei Wei’s show at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art. I've long loved her work, her brushstrokes, the human proportions of the canvas, the historical references. In short, the formal qualities of the art and the intellectual activities of the artisan. But talking to her I was introduced a different world, one in which paint and canvas become food and tongue.

She compares brushing turpentine across a layer of fresh oil paint to cigarettes after a large meal—something to cut through the fat. Yellow flowers in Good Bye evoke drops of lemon juice; an individual brushstroke may be a fennel seed or a sprig of dill that lightens the heavy palette of browns, olive greens, pallid blues and grays.