Outside the Cage
This surreal painting depicts chaos playing out in the foreground contrasted by architectural structure in the background. This work explores painting’s potential for disorientation, evidenced by the bird freed from its cage. Attuned to the scene is a fox, a sly observer with the potential to be the sole character left to recount the moment. The fox is countered by a phantom white mark, a reference to Western gestural painting and East Asian ink wash; both have long informed the artist’s studio practice.
C. Meng's most recent paintings are fantastic assemblages that explore the mystery of the art form. These works are reinterpretations of the world that often combine art historical images or contemporary cultural scenes with characters and situations from the artist's own imagination. Disassociating a picture from its original context sparks Meng’s curiosity about the intrinsic meaning in visual representation—and ultimately the meaning of painting.
Living between the United States and China since the 1970s, Meng’s dichotomous cultural experience informs his work’s fusion of Eastern and Western artistic sensibilities. The artist employs soft calligraphic gestures on top of broad and abstracted brushstrokes, displaying a mastery of both loose and precise mark-making. Meng’s elegant and expressive genre paintings use simple lines and notations to convey scenes from the artist’s daily life and travels—from Chinese street market scenes to European museum interiors.