b. 1962 in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, lives and works in New York.
Wang Mansheng is a self-taught ink painter who explores a wide range of techniques, tools and media in concert with literati brushwork to compose subject matter in dialogue with classical Chinese literature. Incorporating modern strategies into the introspective serenity of traditional Chinese art, Wang aims to capture the spirit of Chinese master painters, while revitalizing and transforming the essence of their work in his landscape painting, calligraphy, monotype and woodcut Buddha sculptures.
Wang started practicing calligraphy and digging deep into Chinese classical literature on his own in his early years, growing up with five siblings in a coal mining town in Northern China. Following his graduation in 1985 from the Chinese Department of Fudan University in Shanghai, where he majored in classical Chinese, Wang worked for over a decade as an editor, director and producer at China Central Television in Beijing. His work took him throughout China, where he experienced museums, natural landscapes and cultural scenes. Early on in his career, Dunhuang’s caves, wall paintings, and sculpture, as well as the endless desert, far-away hills and mountains greatly influenced his ideas on use of media, brush strokes, and tools. In 1996, he immigrated to the United States where he began his career as an artist, adeptly combining his Eastern education and philosophy with Western perspectives.
Wang has managed to develop his unique approach by uniting his modern experiences with China’s collective cultural history. Taken from the indivisible interconnection of text and image inherent to Asian praxis, Wang’s art frequently employs symbolic Chinese themes, such as the Buddha, the waterfall, mountains, and silence.
Wang's works are drawn primarily from his imagination, informed by his deep love of nature, particularly mountains, a favorite destination for the sketches and photography that serve as a resource. His feelings and mood lead him to his subject matter; he often begins with an abstract monotype image and then steps back to see where the 'veins' of the formations and flow of water reveal themselves. Through the layering of bold brushwork, ink washes and unconventional techniques that combine printing and painting, his works feel more three-dimensional than classical Chinese paintings.
Wang's accomplishments are substantiated by the recognition and support he has received from institutions and collectors. His works have been exhibited around the world and are in the permanent collection of museums, including the Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Brooklyn Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery and the Princeton Art Museum. In China, he has shown his work at the Beijing Art Museum, Today Art Museum in Beijing, Xuhui Art Museum in Shanghai and Shanxi Museum in Taiyuan. Wang has also lectured and given demonstrations on Chinese art and culture at universities and museums, including Columbia University, Rubin Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York University, The New School and Boston University.