A year has passed since former illustrator Benrei HUANG’s debut exhibition last year. The enhanced complexity in composition and content in her latest works reveal her bold strides as an artist and embrace of new creative challenges.
Through colors, forms and the subject Nini, Benrei HUANG encapsulates her inner thoughts, emotions, inspirations and revelations about the world she lives in on canvas. The seemingly gentle and fragile Nini along with the background it exists in, be it the sky, forest, a dark night or the bottomless depth of the ocean, compose to tell HUANG’s inner world. For instance, How far up there must I go, to find the footsteps that he’s travelled? germinated from HUANG’s travel to Shanghai 20 years after her father passed away. As she strolled the nostalgic strip of The Bund, she unexpectedly came upon Peace Hotel, a place where her father hung out dancing and dining with friends back in the days when he worked in the metropolitan city as a young lad. “I was walking on the same path my father took. It felt as if the skin of my feet were pressed against his footprints. For a long time I’ve missed him, wishing to know more about him as a young man. I also wanted to know him as a middle aged man: his thoughts, doubts, struggles, all the things I was feeling at the time, standing at a crossroad with doubts about the future, mourning of my bygone youth and longings for lost ones. At that instant when I realized I was stepping on his footprints, it felt as though I’ve gotten the answers. With peace of mind, I began to let go.” And best concert of all comes from a nightly experience of listening to the rain in the dark. It was deep into the night in which HUANG was the only one wake in her home. Outside the silent apartment were the chiming raindrops pouring down the sky that brought on a beautiful symphony of nature.
Benrei HUANG’s art is woven together by these direct and indirect, small and big moments. In her images, one can peer inside the artist’s mind and heart, because each painting springs from her utmost sincerity. Entitled “An Angel on My Table,” this exhibition is named after An Angel at My Table, a biographical film on New Zealand author Janet Frame’s life. Both seeking the meaning of their life through creation, writing to Frame is painting to HUANG. As she paints, HUANG allows her imagination to roam and candidly expresses herself, and thus finding solace through this freedom, as though blessed by the kind guardianship and gentle encouragement of an angel.