Throughout his distinguished career as an artist, Hong Mao has been a candid spokesman for the Great Manner, a certain mingling of virtuosity and unrestrained joy in art. Hong understands that the best things in life are all invisible.
Laughter, love, wind, the spirit, life itself---all are visible only through the things they animate. Mao’s paintings somehow capture not just visible objects but also the invisible vital forces that animate them. Looking at his paintings of trees, you can hear the breeze moving through their branches; looking at his portraits “ Wu Wei“, you see not just a face but a living, breathing unique personality; looking at his painting of “Sunflower”, you see the vitality of life.
Since 1991, Hong has had numerous one-man shows and painted over 60 works of his art. His style has changed gradually through past three decades of dedication to excellence in art. Hong once said to his art lovers that observation is the key to painting and also relaxation. Mao’s messages are aimed at repealing modernism, and restoring moral health through the trinity of nature, nationalism, and godliness.
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Influenced by 20th Century watercolorist, Andrew Wyeth, Hong Mao came to show his works in the United States. Wyeth is known as the only genuine rural contemporary artist. On a deeper level, Wyeth’s style and subject matter, represent the conflict between rural and urban life.
Wyeth’s messages are aimed at repealing modernism, and restoring moral health through the trinity of nature, nationalism and godliness. Most of Mao’s paintings are actually based on a situation his sister experienced during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Young students at that time were all forced to leave the city and take up farming. Mao hopes to convey the emotional strength of character of his sister, and the ability to endure, never knowing how long they would labor in the fields. As Mao was only eight at that time, he was allowed to remain in the city and his father arranged for him to have a painting teacher.
As more of the Western ideas filtered into the Chinese culture during 1980s when China opened its door to the western world, Mao became influenced by the works of 19th century philosopher, George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. The concept of Geist, which means both mind and spirit, is a Hegalian idea that Mao projects in his paintings. He try’s to bring the spirit of all living things to his canvas. Mao enjoys the melting pot of people he has come to know in the US.
---Review from Renate Margit Burgyan
"I paint because this is my life
and my spirit."
Hong Mao, a Chinese artist, began to study drawing at the age of twelve years old. In 1989 he graduated with a Bachelor Degree of Fine Arts in China. At the same time he received a two-year fellowship to study in the famous Chinese artist He Duoling’s Studio in 1990. During his art career in China, he traveled all over China to gain life experiences. He stayed in Northern Tibet for 3 years. There he overcame the hardship of life and painted several groups of paintings about Tibetan people's unique lifestyle and their pious religious belief. His early paintings have been collected by people from different countries, such as Canada, USA, England, French, Switzerland, Japan and Taiwan. In China he has participated many exhibitions organized by Chinese Art Association. Since 1999, he came to Dayton as a visiting artist and held a solo-exhibition in Wright State University in April, 2001; Participated "Art about town" at the Old Courthouse Museum in Dayton in 1999 and 2000; DVAC Auction at Dayton Art Institute in 1999 and 2000; Landscape oil paintings on canvas at Miami Valley Hospital Gallery in 1999; the Millennium at DVAC Gallery in Dayton in 2000; the RF/MAX Fall Art Leo H. Mao Oil Paintings in 2002; and also he donated a painting for the 4th International Art Auction of Dayton Council on World Affairs. Leo is very active in Chinese community service in Dayton. He is the current director of Art and Culture Council of DACA(Dayton Chinese Association). He is also a member of DVAC. He helps promote Chinese culture communication and organize Chinese Festivals in Dayton. For the last 3 years when he was in China, he was engaged in the medical art film production for the medical university he worked for. From a computer illiterate, he became a professional computer artist in 3D Studio. As a professional artist who specializes in portraits and landscape paintings, his vibrant-style has captured the hearts of many. His early work was admired for its expression of humanity, sadness, melancholy, and sincerity. His style and temperament carry the influences of the American painter Andrew Wyeth. He painted classic themes, such as portraits, still life, or the harshness of country life. After he came to the USA, he visited Museum of Contemporary Art at Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and also the Dayton Art Institute for many times. This gave him a great chance to observe masterpieces of eighteenth and nineteenth century from both European countries and America, which was once one of his dreams. These experiences has made him to paint more themes related to American life. He began to use brighter colors. He has made hundreds of trips to Yellow Springs and painted many works of Yellow Springs.