Local artist’s unique portraits on display at RSVP

BY DI ARTS STAFF | JUNE 17, 2009 7:20 AM

Local artist Mei-Ling Shaw has several paintings on display at local greeting card and invitation store RSVP, 140 N. Linn St. Her paintings are a series of realistic portraits with a twist, “They’re soul portraits,” Shaw said. “I had a series of dreams of green dots emanating from objects and people.”

The dots form concentric circles radiating out from different regions of the subject’s body. These dots and their point of origin seem to belie personality traits of the subjects — giving Shaw’s work a high level of emotional impact.

The artist didn’t always deal in realism. Her work used to be much more interpretive.

“I just had a vision of what I wanted to do, and it required a higher level of technical skill,” she said. “There were some misses — a lot of misses … but I’ve found that I’m very strict with myself with painting.”

However, the discipline does not dominate her artistic creativity. “I do a lot of other things that are more fun for me and a lot freer,” she said. The “freer” work would be typified by Shaw’s installations, which she has had shown in Iowa City and bigger places such as Chicago.

Shaw is grateful for the opportunity the events such as the Gallery Walk provide.

“I’m so thankful for these local businesses that open up their shops and their spaces for artists, like me, who otherwise have a hard time finding places to show.”

— by Tanner Koomar

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