After the year 2000, the artist’s Courtyard series increasingly integrated the cultural aesthetics and artistic moods of Chinese philosophical thought, developing her own uniquely individual style of artistic presentation. Around 2010, the Courtyard series abandoned the elements of Western scenery-sketching, giving the sceneries in the garden treatments of wide or narrow depths of field, resulting in various different flavors of paintings, such as the “Black and White” series, the “Dense Leafy Shade” series, and the “Big Tree Family”. These new styles made use of the effect of simplifying shapes onto a flat surface and contrasting hues of colors, letting the paintings bring out a focused and strong compositional tension: flattened yet three-dimensional, realistic yet simplified, concrete yet transformed, both classical and modern; it follows Western painting principles, yet also embodies the aesthetic details of Chinese calm and reclusive observation. These opposing artistic qualities have all found their harmonic and unifying place under the artist’s brush.
The “Dense Leafy Shade” series originated from the artist’s impressions of the dense and serene growth of the garden’s flowers and trees. The bright Summer sun, the thriving branches and leaves, and the light rays passing through gaps in the foliage, all intertwine to form a profound and moving thickness. Thus, even though this aesthetic also has meticulous operation, it tends toward more thick and broad branches and full leaves. In other words, it is a strong aesthetic possessing a certain rigidity. After 2012, the artist’s style from this series gradually changed direction, making the fine flowers and grasses among the larger plants the focus. Spring let a hundred different flowers bloom full of life, growing with especially many varied and exquisite forms. And different kinds of flowers were all blossoming, as if competing in beauty as well as communicating with one another. From this, the “Flower Projection” series was spontaneously derived. Relatively speaking, the latter was a graceful, subdued, and fine aesthetic style, possessing a more soft and graceful, feminine imagery.
Plants and flowers are a kind of miraculous entity in the natural world, lustrous in color yet elegant and refined. They can be called the focus point of the spiritual essence of Earth and the Heavens. Because the artist especially adores flowers and plants, she does not tire of using them as the subject of her artistic creations. Thus the artist has brought out the natural charm of the plants’ growth in the turning of the seasons in her work, along with a spiritual essence and grace. The flowers and trees growing in the courtyard, neither with tall trees reaching for the sky, nor with exotic and rare flowers, are all usual sights in one’s daily life. This allows the paintings to have a charm grounded in reality, negating the sense of being out of touch with the mundane world. “Dense Leafy Shade” and “Flower Projection” may be a sense of the solar terms, or they may be subjective images, or even a viewer’s emotions. In summary, the Dong’s Courtyard series of paintings is a merging of two different aesthetic ideas. On the one hand, there is a strong expressive tension; on the other, it has a depth that conveys delicate emotions. Both interchangeably form the surface and the core, and are also two sides of the same coin.
Glowing Night II 100 × 80 ㎝ Oil on Canvas 2010
Scattered shadow II 80 × 100 cm Oil on Canvas 2010
The Great Tree 0f Chuang-Tze I 41 × 31.5 ㎝ Oil on Canvas 2010