Here is a selection of reviews about Chinese Australian artist Fan Dongwang and his art.
Outlook Magazine, University Of Wollongong
Shifting perspectives - Dr Dongwang Fan
Fan has achieved eminence in the notoriously competitive art world. He has won numerous prizes and grants. He is also a celebrated figure in Sydney’s Chinese community, selected by the City of Sydney to design one of twelve large-scale zodiac lanterns for the much-anticipated Chinese New Year Celebrations in 2016. Fan’s six-metre high dragon lantern took prime position at Dawes Point, looking over the harbour to the Sydney Opera House and enchanting the hundreds of thousands o f visitors to the site.
Cross Culture/ Low Relief: The art of Fan Dongwang. Australian Art Review issue no 8, July -October 2005
The large-scale canvases of artist Fan Dongwang crackle and flash like colour field paintings switched to fast forward. There are stark shadows and vibrant contrasts buzzing in every corner. With electric urgency they pop out into the world of the viewer breaking apart the flatness of two-dimensional space. Dragons, floating bodies, technological transformation, monsters and Gods all hover for recognition in this dramatic field of cross cultural ideas. These works appear like some post-modern bill-board that is spilling out the debris of culture into the world of the viewer with all the seductive hype and gloss that they can conjure.
Working Class, My Arts.The Review/Arts, Sunday Morning Post, 15 August 2004
NEWSPAPERS ACROSS the world reported Fan Dongwang’s story as one of a lowly Chinese labourer who miraculously turned into an award-winning artist. “A former house painter from Shanghai has taken out this year’s Art on the Rocks Prize in Sydney,” said the Australian Associated Press newswire, adding that Fan had beaten some 400 other artists for the A$20,000 (HK$110,000) purse. The winning work, a nine-panel piece called 9 Rocks, was created during a single weekend.
There’s rather more to award-winning artist Fan Dongwang than the media beat-up about his humble roots. David Wilson encounters a ‘born intellectual’.
History and tradition are the most important things … If you’re lost in only the traditional, then it’s difficult to become a contemporary artist.
Shanghai Star: Li Shan, Yu Youhan and Fan Dongwang. Art Asia Pacific, Issue 34, 2002.
His recent re-engagement with the Shanghai of his youth, and with his mentors, has shifted the emphasis in his new work from a complex bicultural collision to simpler; bolder statements. While his previous paintings contained an array of figures from western art history (Botticelli, Bronzino, Michelangelo) and popular culture (particularly sport) enmeshed with Chinese imagery, decoration and ivory and jade carving, Fan's current work is pared back, almost meditative. Still using bright colours and high-contrast relief, Fan has zoomed in on details of traditional Chinese carvings of dragons and tigers, setting them against his signature background of painted floral fabric designs. Elegant and powerful, these paintings utilise the boldness of post-pop and the slickness of commercial illustration to somehow produce a sense of contemplation. They look back to a traditional past, with its iconography providing a sense of identity and cultural cohesion that, for an artist living in Australia at least, can be transformed into powerful hybrid symbols for the present and the future.
Dongwang Fan, Australian Art Collector, Issue 14 2000
Chinese born painter Dong Wang Fan is probably the most qualified artist in the country. After studying Chinese calligraphy, drawing, sculpture and even ivory carving, at which he is something of an expert, he went on to master the arts of photography and graphic design as well as both astern and western styles of realist oil and acrylic painting. If all this sounds confusing, even intimidating, then it is not for Fan who regularly combines more than one of these skills or techniques in his densely layered, mythological paintings of robotic objects, figures and body parts drawn from a variety of religious and cultural sources.
THE AUSTRALIAN AUGUST 04, 2012Bright relief achieved in Dongwang Fan's sculptural
IN 1990 Shanghai-born Dongwang Fan migrated to Australia under the "distinguished talent"visa scheme that recognize international artists with exceptional achievements.
After his arrival in Sydney, he was eager to enroll at art college but he said his language skills were sopoor he mistakenly ended up in a painting course, rather than sculpture, and so he started to paint. This initial glitch, however, proved no impediment to his career. He completed a masters of art at the University of NSW in 1995 and was awarded a doctorate of creative arts at Wollongong University four years later. He is among a group of Chinese artists lauded by the West since the 1990s and many of his works are held in public collections in China and Australia.
Artist’s Profile - Dongwang Fan. Artbank_newslette #8 2004
After long being interested in the work of Chinese-Australian artist Dongwang Fan, it was an absolute delight for Artbank Curator Jackie Dunn to finally visit him at his Sydney studio seeking pieces for the collection. Entering the home this award-winning artist shares with his wife and talented young son – remarkably James, at age 11, has been winning painting and drawing awards of his own for some years – she was overwhelmed by the accumulation of large bright canvases. Each one a cornucopia of dragons, emperors, computer modelled forms and robots, Fan’s exuberant works sing out in a chorus of colour, wit and cross-cultural high drama.
Chinese Art, Sydney Style. Artlink Issue 23 2004
Fan Dongwang had been a student of Yu Youhan's in the late 1980s in China. Yu Youhan and Li Shan were major figures in China's avantgarde scene post-lg89. Their work was first seen in Australia in Mao Goes Pop in '994. Fan Dongwang approached Con Gouriotis and Lisa Havilah, Director and Assistant Director of Casula Powerhouse and together, they conceived the idea of a residency and an exhibition, which, two years later, is still touring venues around Australia.
Sinophilia: A Gang of Five. Australian Art Review issue no 10, 2006
Since the Tiananmen Square uprising, Australia has become the home to a diverse group of Chinese born artists. Sinophilia, or the China art phenomenon, through diverse in content, method, motivation and conceptural constructs, is gaining momentum in the Australian art world."
"Their existence is one of cultural hybridity; a tug-of-war between the culture in which they grew up and the new country that has given them political and social freedom. "