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Whitewall reviews Wang Guangle at Pace Gallery

Wang Guangle’s first solo-exhibition in the United States opened at The Pace Gallery on June 21. This exhibition features seven new works from Wang’s “Untitled” series, the extension of his “Coffin Paint” series he began in 2004. The optically titillating large-scale paintings are made by applying layers of acrylic paint to a canvas in a pre-determined order, resulting in heavily-built surfaces that take on illusionistic depth as the tone scale varies. The lighter gray area surrounding the dark center function as a frame as the viewer wonders where the wall stops and the brush strokes begin. The painting’s gradual layering technique was inspired by Wang’s upbringing. Born from the Fugian tradition of elders’ preparing their coffins with a coat of lacquer for each year until their impending death, Wang adds paint to his canvas twice daily, with each layer farther removed from the painting’s edge. As the pigment accumulates, the center of the canvas builds and deepens in their created illusion of depth. The paintings transform cultural rituals and the passing of time into a smooth, visual dimension of its own. Wang’s process is the product. The perfect smoothness of his paintings exudes his meticulousness and patience. Wang Guangle’s exhibit runs through August 17.

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