Jian Wang Chinese, b. 1958

Jian Wang is a contemporary Chinese painter. Wang was born in Dalian in 1958. A child drawn to art, Wang learned the Russian social realism popular in China, but spent his own time studying Rembrandt and Michelangelo. At the age of twelve, the quality of his artwork earned him admission in the Dalian Youth Palace Arts, where he studied for six years.

Urged by his parents, Wang got his Bachelor of Science in Engineering at the Dalian Railway Institute, where he later taught for four years. It was here that he met Marjorie Francisco, a retired art teacher from Sacramento, who taught English at the Institute. Impressed by his artwork, Marjorie sponsored Wang's journey to the United States so he could have the freedom to develop his own artistic voice.

In 1986, Wang arrived in the United States. He took art courses at Sacramento City College from Fred Dalkey. At University of California, he learned from Wayne ThiebaudManuel Neri, Roland Peterson and David Hallowell. Wang received his M.A. degree in 1994, at California State University, Sacramento, under the advisement of Oliver Jackson.

 

If Jian Wang is to claim a style, it lies in his approach to painting. Distinguished by his ability to reconfigure the elements of a composition to his own vision, he virtually sculpts the image using energetic brush strokes and thick, buttery oil paint. "My style involves tremendous physicality and emotion," he says. "I have a simple palette of eight colors, which I combine right on the canvas. I'm careful with my gestures; I carry many colors in a single brush stroke." His work, influenced significantly by realism with an impressionist inference, is influenced both by the landscape and by contemporary artists such as Fred Dalkey, Wayne Thiebaud and Oliver Jackson. "Every single painting is 90 percent experiment and 10 percent of what I've learned," he says. "I cannot guarantee that every painting will turn out, because I don't want to set up that much control. I have great admiration for historical painters who developed a style and yet, each piece remains individual." Long before he came to the United States to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts at California State University, Jian Wang dreamed of a life of painting. A child of the Cultural Revolution in China, he experienced limited opportunities for painting and exhibition, which led him to pursue the field of engineering. And yet, he did not lack background or training in art. Upon arrival in America, his work already exhibited a serious investment in the western conventions of drawing and painting. What he lacked, was the venue this country could provide.