installation view of wall drawing, by Julie McNiel
site-specific wall drawing

PENJING MASTER has been drawn onto the wall with a stick of graphite. Reddish-orange hand prints, the color of the ink commonly used on chop seals, are meant to suggest an architectural archway with some ancient heritage. Penjing means "tray scenery" in Chinese, and is an older form and wider concept than the more familiar Japanese bonsai. A true master should be able to convey mood and sentiment through her work, with technical virtuosity not emphasized over the expression of inner beauty and respect for nature. The Chinese form allows for a certain measure of wildness, even chaos. It is very popular today, and viewed as literati art form, closely connected to painting and calligraphy.