The Wall Street Journal (Wang Wusheng:Celestial Realm)

March 23, 2013

Wang Wusheng:Celestial Realm

         Much of the work by contemporary Chinese photographers looks as if it were done in completion of the requirements for an MFA at a Western university: conceptual, postmodern and hip. Wang Wusheng's photographs of the Mount Huangshan range are unmistakably rooted in the conventions of Chinese art that are centuries-millennia-old. The range itself was formed about 100 million years ago and is frequently represented as not just ancient, but eternal. In "Mt. Huangshan (W55)-Disciples of Buddha and Stone?Bamboo Shoot Bridge, taken at Now-I-Believe- It Peak"(1984), the perfectly vertical granite mountains rise up through a froth of misty clouds. The large-format black-and-white image has a ledge with some trees on it in the foreground to give a sense of perspective, as in the classic ink drawings of similar views.

        "Mt. Huangshan(W34)"(1984) has the merest pinnacle of a mountain sticking up through a white sea of clouds, apparently floating there in deflance of gravity. In "Mt. Huangshan (W52) -Two Dragon Pines, Taken at the West Sea " (1979), the dark silhouette of a branch of a famous tree extends horizontally across the image, with smaller branches zigzagging up from it. The striated texture of the rock itself is a feature of "Mt. Huangshan(A127W62)-Hunchback Peak, taken at Lion Peak" (1984). Rock, clouds, trees and light mingle in Wang's poetic photographs.

         Wr.Meyers writes on photography for the Journal. See his work at icleTabs_comments