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Yani: the Brush of Innocence.

Yani: The Brush of Innocence

Wang Yani is one of the most extraordinary prodigies in the history of art. Born in China into an artist's family, she started to paint at the age of two. A chance meeting with a group of traditional Chinese artists launched her formal work and by the age of six she had produced 4,000 paintings. To date, her work has been exhibited throughout China and in Hong Kong, Japan, West Germany and England. This very young artist is now being celebrated with a retrospective exhibition at the prestigious Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C. and it is in correspondence with this event that this beautiful, inspiring book is published.

Through Yani's brush of innocence, we are introduced to an immensely wonderful world of warmth, delight and playfulness, the world of a gifted child's mind and vision. Her first obsession was with monkeys, of which she painted images which are conceptual, abbreviated and expressionistic rather than naturalistic. Yani's subject matter has broadened to include lions, birds, fish, dragons, flowers and mountain landscapes, intertwining fantasy and reality. All of this is conveyed through a remarkably rich repertoire of brush, wash and color techniques, and it is their virtuosity as well as their joyful spirit that have led the world to fall in love with her work.

This important volume contains sixty-nine full-color reproductions from her work between the ages of three and twelve and four essays that consider Yani's work from different perspectives. It represents her achievements in all thematic categories, her constant experimenting with various techniques, and her continuous search for different modes of expression. This book is simply a must for the reference shelves of all who are interested in children's art, gifted behavior and aesthetics. Moreover, it is a beautiful and inspiring volume to browse as well as to study!

PHOTO : Left: Wang Yani at age three. Right: Wang Yani, A Hundred Monkeys (detail), 1985, painted at age 9.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Davis Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Previous Article:In your element.
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