Ma Yanhong’s photographically real portrait paintings give weight to the spatial realities and physicality of the female body. Yanhong works from photographs, and the stark quality of light suggests a bright photo-flash that enhances the vulnerability and raw intensity of the women that she paints while glazing over the skin’s small imperfections. Often depicted in their own homes, Yanhong’s subjects are also people that she shares a strong connection with, allowing for layers of intimacy that reverberate throughout the work.
Yanhong was initially influenced by Yu Hong, a realist portrait artist and Yanhong’s teacher at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, China. Though utilizing a similar hyper-realist painting method, Yanhong views her style as constantly developing and evolving beyond the influence of her mentor’s work. Her recent painting incorporates unique vantage points and compositions that are wholly her own. Yanhong graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2002. Since, she has frequently exhibited and participated with a group of fellow CAFA students who call themselves “N12”. She lives and works in Beijing, China.