Pearl Buck

(From L to R, top to bottom:) Pearl Buck, a Karakuri puppet, Japanese Izakaya food in Beijing, Singaporean designer Peir Wu's FW 2011 Collection, Korean thriller 'Poongsan', and the cast of Korean musical '200-pound Beauty''

@The great train tragedy in Zhejiang China continues to unfold. The death toll is now 40, and the government has decided to nearly double compensation for the families of victims.

@NYC’s MTA Chairman Jay Walder announced to quit in October, and who can blame him, when Hong Kong’s subways look like this.

@Great news for book lovers. ‘Pearl Buck in China‘ (Simon & Shuster, 2010) is now out in paperback. Buck, by the way, is probably the most fascinating “blond-haired, blue-eyed Chinese girl” who ever lived.

@LaughingSquid posted a video of Karakuri, or the Japanese art of clockwork puppets that run without electricity. Let’s just say these puppets blow me away!

@WOWSAN introduces SAI, unusual shelving system from South Korea that’s customizable and perfect for city dwellers.

@Koreaboo reports hit romantic comedy ‘200-pound Beauty’ will be remade into a musical that will then ambitiously begin a tour across Asia. Kara’s Gyuri and Supernova’s Sungje are involved.

@Hollywood Reporter likes Poongsan (2011), a Korean thriller that “injects new life into Korean North-South espionage thrillers with its edgy portrayal of a mysterious man.”

@Whatever happened to luxury brand Chloé’s online push in China?

@Hip fashion mag Dazed profiles London-based Singaporean designer Peir Wu whose latest collection is based on an “alien tribe of men from an imaginary planet.”

@The Beijinger reviews a new Izakaya restaurant in China’s capital, with a nice woodsy Izakaya vibe but where the food is a little bit hit-and-miss.


@Shanghai Shiok! blogs about how Singaporeans are frowning at the latest influx of Chinese immigrants. But Singapore, isn’t that how you got started?



Lan-Chiann Wu, Tranquil Artist

by Liz on July 16, 2011

in Art & Design

Firefly Dream (2000)

Not too long ago, I received a lovely, introductory e-mail from a Chinese painter in Los Angeles. Lan-Chiann Wu, an artist specializing in contemporary Chinese ink painting, has lectured and exhibited in the Los Angeles area, San Francisco, as well as in New York, Taiwan, and Japan. She’s currently exhibiting at the Maloof Foundation in Los Angeles, and the show runs until September 3, so be sure to check out her work if you are in her neighborhood.

Lantern Festival I (1999)

Wu’s best paintings illustrate the depth of her imagination. At first glance, her world echoes the China of a fabled past. Red lanterns glow in hutong alleyways. Bamboo reeds whisper to the winds. Fireflies glow with flickering warmth.

But true to the contemporary nature of her works, there’s more to Wu’s art than mere visual references to the pastoral Far East.

House of Souls (1999)

What makes Wu’s paintings special is the interplay between meticulously planned illustration and the magical realism that is at the core of many novels. True to form, some of Wu’s paintings are inspired by classics, such as The Good Earth by Pearl Buck. Beyond the inspiration of fictional history, Wu’s paintings seem to exist neither in the past nor the present. Instead, she catapults the past into contemporary composition. She makes Chinese imagery her own, beckoning viewers with their familiarity but also imbuing the scenery with measured doses of not-seen-but-felt novelty.

I love Wu’s paintings for their emotional resonance that lives in the unpopulated fields, silent rivers, and the glow of evening. Her world is a harbor. The good Earth, our Mother. And it’s nice to know that in this Mother’s overarching arms, we are unfettered to fall asleep in peace and to dream safely in the knowledge that harm, worry and fear are at best figments of a child’s imagination.