November 6-29, 2008
Opening reception Thursday November 6, 6-8 pm
In a new exhibition of fine oil-on-linen paintings, Beijing-based painter Xue Mo creates stunning original portraits of her fellow Mongolian people. With their regal poses and elegantly embellished clothing and hats, the figures provide a fascinating look at the Mongol “fashion” culture.
Hat styles signify their owner’s social status and even age by the choice of fabrics – silks, fur, wool or leather – and by the originality of such trimmings as beads, embroidery, silk buttons, crewel work, strings of beads and closely-woven pompoms. The lavish workmanship has symbolic meaning as well, with the point of the hat representing Mount Sumber, the legendary land of the Mongol forefathers. It is said that the knot on the top represents the unity of the nation, red ribbons are the sun's rays, and the broad brim represents the country's inaccessibility. Mongolians wear hats in all seasons. They are still normal attire in the countryside, where the richly decorated clothes compensate for the simple, ascetic nomadic lifestyle.
Xue Mo contrasts her stately models in their deep jewel-toned clothing with the spectacular mountains and grasslands beyond. Through her work, she asks metaphysical questions about nature and existence, the universal significance of traditions, and the continuity of idiosyncratic cultures in a global economy.
After graduating in 1991 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, Xue Mo lectured in Fine Art in Beijing for many years before beginning her career as a full-time professional artist. She divides her time between her Beijing studio and her home town of Bayanwula, located in the centre of West Wuzhumuqin province. She has exhibited in Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, the US and Australia. Mongolian Renaissance marks Xue Mo’s third solo exhibition with Diane Farris Gallery.