Ming Ying is a painter living and working in London.
In vibrant jewel-tones, heavily impastoed in oil paint, Ming’s emphasis on materiality of painting describes people’s alienation, indifference and desire within social gatherings—grand soirées, salons, picnics, balls, which reflect the social phenomenon across centuries and continents sarcastically. Under the strong global influence by Western culture, the allure of Western luxury that Asian individuals are often drawn too. As an Asian living in the West, an exploration unsettlingly underscored by an acknowledgement of her own involvement in this complex legacy of colonialism.
Draped in theatrical costumes and bedecked with jewels that span time, the elegance of the 19th century mingles with the familiarity of the later 21st century, all coexisting in Ming’s dazzling painting. Ornate attire worn by Ming’s subjects symbolises the many layers people conceal as they navigate social landscapes. Every one of the figures is adorned with some version of an extraordinary garment, but the repetition wears deliberately thin, reducing each of them to a mere duplicate of its neighbour, lacking individuality.
Ming's superimposed marks are created through alternating scrapers and brushes of varying thicknesses. Multiple layers and eddying brushstrokes explore the materiality of painting that underscore the emotional depth of her works. Her technique is akin to philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s writings, who explored the tactile experience of the self and its relationship with the surrounding world. To quote him, “[the] body is the fabric upon which all other fabrics are woven” (Phenomenology of Perception, 1945). Ming’s characters are immersed in surreal backgrounds that swell and crash around them like the colossal waves of the deep sea. They evoke 'a world of wind,' as the artist herself describes. Up close, the marks appear as abstract gestures that merge figure and environment as a singular, symbiotic being, similarly binds body and environment, integrally blending presence and absence.
Ming’s sketches are from quotidian life, theatre and film, she is trying to perform a modern Tableau Vivant (from the French for 'living picture', a tableau vivant combines aspects of a theatrical performance with painting and photography) Her subjects take on an almost mannequin-like quality: carefully posed, they are devoid of individual expression, reflecting the delicate façades often deployed to conceal inner conflicts in favour of maintaining an air of grace–or control. Strolling amongst these silent dolls, it is hard not to feel like an intruder, stumbling lost through a garden of secret bourgeoisie encounters. If the eyes of portrait paintings follow you around the room, the faces in the painting would surely start whispering once they were sure your back was turned.
2016-2018:BA Fine Art Painting at University of the Arts London
2018-2020: Royal College of Art
2024: Upcoming solo with Tang contemporary
2023: Runway, Anat Ebgi Gallery, LA
2022: Attention Grabbing, Longstoryshort Gallery, New York
2022: Society II-IV, JD Malat Gallery, London
Selected Group Exhibition
2022: “Late Night Enterprise”, Perrotin Gallery, New York
2022: “Escape”, Longstoryshort Gallery, LA
2021: “Thesmophoria”, soho Revue, London
2020: “London Grads Show”, Saatchi Gallery, London
2020: “50/50”, Fold Gallery, London
2019: “Edge Effect”, Katonah Museum of Art, New York
2019: “9th Wirral Society of Arts Open Call Exhibition”, Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, Birkenhead
2019: “Signature Art Prize shortlist show”, Trinity Art Gallery, London
2018: “Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize”, Ashurst Gallery, London
2018: “Lynn Painter-Stainer exhibition”, Mall Gallery, London
2017: “2017 Khojaly Peace Prize”, House of Parliament, London