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Ink-Bending Artist Laces Feminism into Lingerie Landscapes

The more is covered, the more is revealed in Hong Wai’s "Pop Ink" artwork.

by Diana Shi
Nov 5 2016, 11:40am

A piece from Hong Wai’s Feminine Landscape (2016) series, ink and color on silver Xuan paper, 170 x 70 cm, All images courtesy the artist

As if lace and lingerie weren't enough to raise the heat, an "ink-bending" artist is imparting a new degree of sensuality to intricate, lacy, satiny slips. Hong Wai, a transmedia artist based in Macau and Paris, creates elegant diffused ink paintings that inject classical Chinese paintings with a modern, feminist perspective. Her scintillating works fuse together the imagery of barely-clad bodies into the format of landscape and portraiture. In a statement to The Creators Project, Hong described her series, Feminine Landscape and Secret de Boudoir, as "journeys with ink to a new frontier, [my] works are characters by the bending of the ink. Instead of paintings presenting virtue, [I] explicitly express the feminine perspective through unconventional depiction of contemporary images."

Her clever takes on traditionally sexualized body parts place the ownership back in female hands. In one triptych, three paintings of female legs, posed seductively, are in actuality drawing out the Chinese character for woman, "女," in shape.

Secret de Boudoir series - Tights (triptych), 2015. Ink and color on silver Xuan paper, 180 x 95 cm

Celeste. Ink on golden Xuan paper, diameter of 33cm

Secret de Boudoir series - Alice. 97 x 60 cm, ink and color on Xuan paper

Visuals of lace-covered legs and torsos emerging from mountain range mist are painted in the style of landscapes, yet radiate with human sensuality. The noted use of black ink to subvert traditional art—a style the artist describes as "Pop Ink"—is a means by which the Chinese artist balances her influence against the male influence in the art field: "Instead of representing virtue through traditional Chinese fashion, I chose to unabashedly express and illustrate femininity with contemporary, unconventional images. My mountain and water landscapes become interlaced lingerie; the ode to heaven and earth become an ode to sensuous, hidden, and inescapable 'yin,'" she says.

Anthéa, 2014. Ink on golden Xuan paper, diameter of 33cm

Secret de Boudoir series (triptych), 2015. Ink and color on nature Xuan paper, 93 x 60 cm each, total size 180 x 93 cm

Jasmine, 2014. Ink on golden Xuan paper, diameter of 33 cm

Désirée, 2014. Ink on silver Xuan paper, diameter of 33cm

To see more works from Hong Wai, visit her Behance page here.

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