The Paintbrush Artist Pu Wei, a native of Kunming, Yunnan China, is well-known as an “innovative color of Surupa painting” artist in China. Her brush paintings convey the essence of the ancient Chinese art ethics, which emphasizes “likeness in unlikeness.” Chinese artists through history tend to consider as essential that art works must express “spirit” or “rhythm” (“li’ called by ancient word meaning). The artist with the capability to express the “inner spirit” of the subjects they are painting is held in high esteem. Pu Wei’s unique contribution in brushpainting lies in her choice of aesthetic preference that is deeply grounded in the ancient Chinese major philosophies significantly including Taoism (or Daoism), thoughts of Laozi and Zhuangzi. Taoism in general tends to emphasize wu wei (effortless action), "naturalness", simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: jing (sperm/ovary energy, or the essence of the physical body), qi ("matter-energy" or "life force."). The ideal aesthetic art realm promoted by Taoism is to bring out “inner spirit” or “vitality” of the subject artists are depicting. Another main feature of Taoism-influenced art creation is to seek both “Contentment Happy” (Zhile) and “Compassion Purified” (zhishan) through their art works.
Pu Wei pioneers the color of Surupa painting technique to create an art portal through which viewers can see the balanced beauty of merging both the ancient Chinese art forms and the Western abstract art styles. Pu Wei’s wide range of brush paintings contain the aesthetic ideals expressed by Taoism and Western abstract arts. For example, Pu Wei has explored a new approach to landscape art works---using colors and brush strokes to express the inner emotions of the painter and spirit of the subjects depicted. For the traditional Chinese artists in history, the aim of using color and shade for any art creations is to express the characteristics of the different subject matter. Pu Wei has applied this color principle very well in her landscape painting category---her varied brush strokes, creativity in applying color and shade, ink and painting materials all bring her subject matters to a higher level of aesthetic experience for the viewers. In addition, Pu Wei’s themes are uniquely vivid as well as her blending color techniques. Themes such as mountains, streams, rocks, trees, animals, etc. all are brought to life by her talent for featuring the inner spirit of these subjects. More importantly, Pu Wei has merged into her works the Western impressionist and abstract styles called “the imagery style” that reveals the illusions of visible reality world. For the western abstract artists, the skill to employ a visual language of shape, form, color is very fundamental and they believe that visual language of forms and lines can be employed to create an art composition, expressing the interdependence from visual references in the world the artists have seen or observed---this artist element is also reflected in Pu Wei’s landscape art collections.
Pu Wei has demonstrated her spontaneity in conceiving art themes and her inner positive moods which she wants to express through her color of Surupa art works. As we all know, the ancient Chinese pursued the harmony of man with nature as the ultimate state of poised living. The core of Chinese traditional culture is "Tao", which means “the source”, the inherent law guiding the natural development of the universe. Taoism emphasizes the concept of Yin and Yang, a balanced polarity of the two opposites working together to bring harmony to nature and man. Taoism promotes the oneness or unity of man and universe. For the ideal living in a society, the five elements in the ancient Chinese philosophy--water 水, fire 火, wood 木, metal 金, earth 土 are considered equally important in terms of regulating energy “qi”. Energy “qi” is essential in all walks of lives in nature. This Taoism ideology element of stressing the importance of “qi” (energy), “mind” and “spirit” has inspired Pu Wei in her art works production such as Asura, Dragon Waves, Taiji Diagram (“qi” balance of yin and yang), and Fengshui Awowana Fish---these art pieces all reflect the importance of positive “qi” (energy) regulating in the universe. The aim of Chinese Fengshui study is to regulate the five elements of air so as to achieve balanced “qi” for the ideal, prosperous living. This aspect of ideology is best expressed by Awowana Fish. Another example is revealed by Pu Wei’s masterpiece, “Taiji Diagram---” “qi” is the swirling motion suggested by the Taijitu symbol as the divine circle of life, symbolizing a constant reborn process for all elements in universe. Innovatively, Pu Wei also skillfully merges her subjective consciousness into the aesthetic experience for those transcended images she depicted in Dragon wave, Sea Heaven, The Seven Stars Place, Personal Destination, etc. These art creations can stir viewers boundless imagination of a transcended imagery of god in Sea heaven. Looking at these paintings, viewers gain a chance to appreciate the art creations as they are really experiencing the transcended beauty revealed by these painted images.
In summary, the traditional Chinese cultural ideology Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism have greatly impacted the Chinese artists aesthetic preferences. Thoughts such as promoting oneself by meditation, by being still, cultivating the heart, and nurturing the character by laborious efforts have greatly impacted numerous Chinese artists for thousands of years. Cultivating heart (Confucianism focus), Being still and poised living (Taoism focus), and Buddhism meditation all point to the same goal---staying connected to the nature, achieving a transcended mind without being stimulated by reality environment.