The Cicada and the Plum Series concerns itself with the transition of a four thousand year old culture into the modern era. The paintings reflect a sense of timelessness, a sense of theatre, of role-play, curiosity and yet a deep sense of caution. Inspiration comes from antique photographs of Chinese culture from the 1800s and noticing how so many of those images could have been taken even centuries before the camera had even been invented. Chinese culture had persevered through intense infiltration from the rest of the world, unchanged, and my paintings explore the moment just before the modern era seeped into it via a series of intimate portraits of various protagonists of the era. A deeper inspiration comes from an unexplainable obsession with Chinese culture since early childhood.

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© 2019 Melissa Barber Galleries

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