Wang Gongyi graduated in 1962 from the Affiliated High School of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. She joined the Tianjin People’s Fine Arts Publishing House as an editor in 1973. In 1978, she entered the Printmaking Department of the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now the China Academy of Fine Arts), and after receiving her degree there she remained as a teacher. In 1980, Wang was awarded the grand prize for her “Qiu Jin” series of woodcut prints at the “Second National Youth Art Exhibition”. In the early 80s, Wang was already well known in the contemporary art circle in China through her woodcut series “Qiu Jin”, this work called for social reforms and represented the passion of a new generation. It has become an important work in the historical narrative of contemporary Chinese art. In 1986, Wang was invited by the French Ministry of Culture to study art in France. After periods as artist-in-residence at the Museum of Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest College of Art, she moved permanently to the US in 2001 and is now based in Portland. Since 2005, Wang broke free and returned to nature – she started her signature Winsor Blue landscape series and abstract ink experimentations.
Wang Gongyi’s tenacious affinity for natural elements is the central inspiration for her practice. Alluding to traditional Chinese landscape paintings and the abstract visual language that has been inherently part of modern art in the last three decades, Wang’s works are characterized by a sublime knowledge of compositional balance and sensitivity towards the nuances of tone and color, which has been attributed to her extensive academic training in China and abroad. Wang Gongyi’s visual language also speaks to the principles of Buddhism, a balanced simplicity with hidden depths that has long been an inspiration for her life and work.
She has exhibited extensively globally. Her recent solo exhibitions include: Wang Gongyi’s Prints at PNCA (Portland Art Museum, Oregon, USA, 2018); Memories of West Lake (Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong, 2017); Exhibition of Wang Gongyi’s Works (Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou, China, 2013); Wang Gongyi’s Art Work (Tianjian Academy of Art Museum, Tianjin, China, 2010); Wang Gongyi – Works on Paper (Laura Russo Gallery, Oregon, USA, 2009).
Her recent group exhibitions include: Records of the West Lake (China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China, 2017); Wang Gongyi and Yan Shanchun Joint Exhibition (Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong, 2016); Living Legacies: The JSMA @ 80 (Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Oregon, USA, 2013); Exhibition of Wang Gongyi’s Works (Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou, China, 2013); and 2012 Ink Painting: 2012 International Ink Painting Exhibition and Symposium (National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan, 2012).
Wang Gongyi’s works are in the collections of many museums and organizations, including: The Vivian and Gordon Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts, Portland Art Museum (USA); The USC Pacific Asia Museum (Pasadena, USA); The National People’s Congress (Beijing, China); The National Art Museum of China (Beijing, China); China Academy of Art, (Hangzhou, China) ; Shanghai Art Museum (Shanghai, China); The Liaoning Provincial Museum (Liaoning, China); Jiangsu Provincial Art Museum (Jiangsu, China) ; and the Zhejiang Art Museum (Zhejiang, China).