Ma Mingze focuses on urban life in her oil paintings now on show in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Ma Mingze's oil paintings remind you of works by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004). Though both work with different mediums, they both depict day-to-day scenes in a way that give viewers an unreal feeling.
Bresson focused on people struggling at the bottom of society and produced works that look like classic snapshots of eternity.
Similarly, Ma, 34, creates cinematic scenes in her paintings with a simple palette. She dwells on the embarrassments, confusions and imperfections of daily life in an urban setting.
Dozens of the Beijing-based artist's oils are now on show at her solo exhibition Freeze A Moment, being held at the Parkview Green Art gallery in Beijing's 798 art district through Aug 20.
"Ma captures details that are overlooked by people when they are busy with work and family affairs. Things like hair on a pillow, flying curtains, women's ankles and a wardrobe which is slightly open," says Kim Mi-young the exhibition's academic director.
"A sensitive and a keen observer, Ma paints these ordinary unavoidable everyday moments on canvas. She reveals the anxieties of people living a seemingly peaceful life."
A frequent moviegoer, Ma says that when she paints she imagines herself as a film director visualizing an episode from the script.
She searches for material in her memory and puts it together with her brush.
"When I read a book, I picture a lot of scenarios and keep them in my mind. When I am touched by certain scenes in a film, I remember them," she says.
"And sometimes some things or some people in real life will awaken these memories, based on which I re-create and produce paintings."
Secret, a painting on show, is inspired by the 2001 Chinese movie In the Mood for Love.
Ma says she was captivated by a scene in which the protagonist speaks softly to a hole on a tree.