When talk turns to traditional Chinese ink-wash painting, it invariably focuses on stereotypical subjects such as birds and flowers.But artist Wu Yiming, a pioneer in the area, is determined to render something new from this ancient art genre.

His solo-exhibition, “Painting the Banal” currently on display at the ShanghART Gallery, is a continuation of his experiments in the use of a spare and refined painting style over the past few years.

In fact, his works have blazed for themselves a “third way.” His is a style in between contemporary pictorial consciousness and the traditional spirit of Chinese painting. By depicting scenes of everyday life, they pierce through to the deep sensorial layer of our experience of the present.

Born in 1966 in Shanghai, Wu is a graduate from the Fine Arts Department of East China Normal University. In the ordinary glimpse of what Wu depicts, flowers and tree shadows or city lights are no longer presented before the eyes with the matter-of-factness of “objects.”

Rather, the actual subject, hidden behind the canvas, is the artist himself. In his “Light” series and in his representations of urban scenes, which he has worked on continuously over the past two years, visitors can clearly sense this “slowness” of time. Perhaps revealed on the rice paper is also the contemplation and introspection of the artist himself in the silence of his solitary corner.