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Elements, Ling _


Medium: mixed media
Size: 18″x18″ image
Price: $480

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About the Artist

The delicately rendered and deceptively simplistic still lifes of Ling, aka Don Xin Xu, belie this exceptionally accomplished artist’s years of struggle, intellectual dedication and perseverance in her native China. Born Don Xin Xu, the eldest child in what would prove to be an exceptionally accomplished artistic family, Ling’s childhood would seem to have placed her at a distance from artistic exploration. Removed from her family at age nine and forced to work on a farming cooperative during the Cultural Revolution, Ling, like so many other young Chinese of the time, grew up without formal schooling. The daughter of a librarian, Ling knew the value of education and training. Undeterred, she found secret refuge in the radio, snatching clandestine moments to listen to illegal western news broadcasts and sitcoms in English. Ling was a remarkably self-taught student and when the Cultural Revolution ended nearly ten years later, she parlayed her rudimentary English skills into academic training as an English teacher.

It can be said that Ling’s intellectual veracity as a child was only matched by her artistic imagination. Recalling her childhood before her forced exile, Ling reflects on her passion for drawing and painting, creating elaborately imaginary worlds. “My mother and father were really quite open to a little girl’s creativity,” says Ling. “Something quite unheard of in those days.”

While studying to become an English teacher, Ling returned to her first passion–painting–and has not looked back. After years serving as an English instructor, Ling, with the encouragement of Slaymaker Fine Art Ltd, turned professional artist. She also paints under her given name. She says about her pseudonym: “After my father, Ling, died, I wanted to honor him in some way. He was such a uniquely wonderful, encouraging man. I decided there was no better way to do so than by taking on his name as tribute.”

Ling’s lyrical still lifes are testament to the powerful effect of sophisticated understatement and reserve. Painted in acrylic, from raw pigments she mixes herself, Ling’s paintings are a seamless fusion of western and eastern painting styles. To achieve her results, Ling lays down a flat background color, then works the paint to create texture, adding slightly different hues, and drips and dribbles. She then begins the effortless work of rendering the still life objects, always in flattened, almost abstract like qualities that give her paintings the eloquence they so effortlessly exude.