I am currently very interested in a Chinese painter named Ma Yanhong. Her portraits are slightly confrontational, sexy, and real. I love the contrast between the surety of the women in the painting on the left and the awkwardness of the women at right. You get the feeling that the subjects of her paintings are her friends, not just models; that they inhabit the same social circle. They gaze back with conspiratorial looks, like this painting is a project they are working on together. These paintings make it rough for an American viewer to descend into some sort if stereotypical vision of Chinese women.
I first saw her work in a book of young Chinese artists in the Walker Art Museum bookstore. This is what little I know:
She graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 2002.
She was born in 1977.
I am trying to find out more about her, and would love to see her paintings in person.