The Art of 'Soft Power'

Feb 4 2015

Barbara Edelstein, art professor at NYU Shanghai, was one of four female artists featured in the Soft Power group show in Xuhui district’s Leo Gallery.

Edelstein's Reflections. Nature Series, 2013 digs deep into Chinese tradition and culture, using the juxtaposition of photography and traditional ink painting to portray nature through her personal lens of abstraction, emotion, and intuition. There is a unique dialogue formed, as the photographs draw upon the technical intuitiveness of an artistic eye while the ink paintings show the intuition of an artful hand.

Edelstein’s featured video installation, With Breeze: Shadows, 2012 radiates with the soft power of nature. Created in China, the piece is a direct representation of the Chinese concept of chi (气) frequently translated to represent “life force” or “energy flow.”

“The video is inspired by Chinese landscape painting," she explains. "It actually is shadows of trees moving very slightly in the breeze, and by videotaping the movement of the shadow, you’re actually watching the energy of the air, which references chi."

Other female artists featured in the Soft Power exhibit include Maya Kramer, Man Fung-yi, and Yan Ping, who showcase experimentation, concept, design, and vision through a variety of paintings, sculptures, and installations.

Rain Xi, manager of Leo Gallery, comments, “Through the exhibition, you’ll find that the work of female artists contains quite a bit of power and style. It can't be ignored. Their work will really resonate with you. We really hope that our audience will see the glamorous artistic language of our female artists.”

Learn more about Soft Power and Edelstein’s work in her interview with International Channel Shanghai’s (ICS) CityBeat program.