By Richard Campbell

Opening this week on the UMASS Boston campus is an interesting graduate work art show by Li Wang, who having returned from studying in Japan on a Ruth Butler scholarship, was influenced by works of traditional Asian artists. The beautiful creations this study inspired have an iconic and unique feeling to them- as though one is traveling back in time simultaneous to referencing current trends in art and iconography. The work is realized with particular skill and attention to detail, and well worth a visit.

One of the critical aspects often missing in post-modern art is aesthetically pleasing work that entertains the viewer for its ingenuity that would make it personal art- art that one could purchase to display in a home or business- that can stand the test of time. Because Li’s works have a playfulness mixed with intense craftsmanship, and are strikingly original creations, his work will hold its own in the future.  Refreshing is the idea that I don’t have to read a thesis to grasp the artist’s intent, and the continuity of the works that refer to each other’s uniqueness across the show. That having been said, the notes for the show include: “These masterfully executed paintings invent complex compositions where disparate symbols, landscapes, and figures float and collide, deliberating how contemporary, historical, and geographical narratives can combine to create a third, hybrid image. The paintings are charged with political and cultural exchange, and advance intellectual, humorous, and aesthetic considerations of Eastern and Western art.”

Not that one should be surprised at the level of this work from a graduate of UMass Boston, but the school’s arts programs are comparatively young compared with colleges in the area, and the paint is barely dry on their beautifully designed arts center.  For those in the South Boston community who take walks over towards the campus, this gallery tucked in the back of the first floor is just one part of the colleges’ arts center. With symphony concerts, plays and lectures, there is plenty to see and hear for free close by to South Bostonians.

“Li Wang has presented internationally at the Young Palace Gallery in Tai Yuan City in China, Healds Hall Gallery in West Yorkshire in Great Britain, Xin Shen Zhou Gallery in Singapore, and the Townhouse Gallery, and Contemporary Graphic art Gallery in West Virginia United State of America. His artworks have been published in Art Speaker and Manhattan Art Magazine.

The University Hall Gallery is located on the first floor of University Hall, in Room 1220.
University Dr. N, Boston, MA 02125.  It is always free and open to the public.