Shi Wei was born in 1965 in Hubei Province, China. He graduated from the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts with a Masters degree in art and now lives and works in Beijing, teaching at Beijing City University. He has held numerous exhibitions in China as well as in Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong just to name a few.
Shi Wei’s subject matter revolves around the sensuality of the female form, and the image of the “beautiful skinny woman” has now become his trademark. Each woman has her own characteristics and the artist is careful to give them each their own identity. Some gaze out of the painting with nonchalance, a vacant expression of indifference, whereas others are overtly seductive with engaging “come hither” looks. In his oil paintings, women are depicted skinny and lean in erotic poses, which places the meaning of beauty under scrutiny. Are these women beautiful and happy? Or are they suffering for the price of vanity?
Although each face is different, the message conveyed is the same; these women are all products of China’s new open door policy, flourishing under its fast moving economic development. Born in the 1980s and 1990s they seem, however, detached from reality, amidst in a meaningless world of consumerism. Their bodies highlight their yearning desire to be fashionable and stylish, and yet a mood of emptiness permeates form the works. This is underscored by the bland backgrounds in the paintings; anonymous hotel rooms and monochrome draperies. Through this collection of paintings Shi Wei masterfully depicts the “here and now” of life in the economic-‐boom towns of China and what it means for the young generation of women growing up in this environment.