Tang Ke graduated from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1994. His career in painting began in 2001. His earliest works concern urban culture and street crowds. Starting from 2004, Tang painted directly on transparent film made of PET plastic. Unlike conventional canvas, the film is more sensitive to light. It makes the pigment more diluted and the strokes clearer. His earliest film pieces portray animals, including macaws. Later on, he created a series of monumental landscapes on film. These works were shown at art institutions in and outside of China, including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Afterward, Tang created a number of works by attaching sheets of painted film to light boxes and by painting landscapes with oils.
In 2011, Tang began painting vegetables, focusing mainly on depicting wax gourds. From 2014 to 2017, Tang devoted himself to creating sketches, whereby the artist reconsidered issues including his visual language and the meaning of the painting. Involving intricate depictions of leaves and tree branches, these works let the artist gain a deeper understanding of the visual connections between different parts of a canvas.
Tang went back to painting wax gourds and other vegetables in 2018. He endows his depiction with lifelike features as well as an almost otherworldly outlook. Tang’s works echo how he described his cultivation and observation of wax gourds. “When gazing at an object, I see everything coming along,” he said. “After observing them [wax gourds] for some time, I approached them in a different way…they transcended the state of being merely plants.”
Tang’s works have been exhibited internationally at institutions including:
- ARKO Museum, Seoul, Korea (2012);
- Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA (2011);
- Foundation Louise Blouin, London, UK (2010);
- China National Convention Center, Beijing (2010);
- Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China (2009).