Ma Ke in L.A.

Ma Ke in L.A.

Marc Selwyn Fine Art presents Chinese artist, Ma Ke’s first U.S. exhibition, Idioms, curated by James Elaine, now on view through July 5.

I first saw Ma Ke’s work in 2008 or 09 at an obscure space in Beijing. I was immediately taken by the two small paintings of his that were in a large group show. No one in the gallery could give me any information about him. It took me several years to track him down, but finally while visiting Platform China gallery in Beijing one day, I saw a catalogue of an artist’s work and instantly knew this must be the artist I had been looking for for such a long time.

Ma Ke, born in 1970, grew up in a very different China than he lives in now.  Trained by his father in traditional Chinese oil painting and Russian social realism, he knew nothing of western modern and contemporary art until the early 1990’s when he attended Tianjin Academy of Fine Art. There he was introduced to Van Gogh, Monet, Francis Bacon, etc and later to European contemporary artists. He realized that in China teachers teach what is right and what is wrong to paint and how to paint it. But in the west the artists “choose” the way to go and are free to express their inner self. In the west the times and the people both changed but in China the people and the art never changed, the system was closed. A window began to slowly open for Ma Ke and after a lifetime “lost in darkness,” as he describes, he knew he must make similar choices and find his own voice. 

Marc Selwyn Fine Art
9953 S. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 277-9953

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Tags: James Elaine, Telescope, Beijing, China, Ma Ke