Dong Shaw-hwei, born 1962, attended the Fine Art Department of the National Taiwan Normal University after graduating from the Taipei First Girls’ School. In 1984, she graduated first in her year in both the theoretical and practical studies. After that, she worked as an art teacher while also traveling to Europe and America several times. In 1989, she returned to the Art Theory Division of the National Taiwan Normal University for her master’s degree, focusing on an analysis of the relationship between Zhuangzi’s thought and aesthetics. This analysis was published as the book “Asthetic Significance of Zhuangzi’s Thought” (Student Book Co. Ltd., Taipei 1993). 10 years later, she collected her personal experiences in creating art into another work, “The Meaning of Sketch in the Light of Zhuangzi’s Contemplation” (Yifeng Publishing House, Taipei 2003). It demonstrates Shaw-hwei’s deep understanding of the aesthetics of Zhuangzi’s thinkings.
Around 2001, Shaw-hwei started using the old house she was living in as the topic in her paintings. The flowers and trees in the garden, and the play of shadow and light in it, were all gradually captured by her in her paintings as very colorful sceneries. Shaw-hwei enjoys drawing familiar moments from daily life, and through careful observation, she produced an ordinary, peaceful, clear, and passionate tone in her paintings. Many of the continuous paintings in her “In the Courtyard” series display a strength of style not often seen in female artists.
Using the garden as the theme, Shaw-hwei has managed to create many different styles and effects by using different methods in her art. Among them is a series that tries to record the changes in the light and shadows in the garden from dawn to dusk, possessing a literati character. The “Monochrome Series”, drawn with a fountain pen, on the one hand displays strokes typical for Chinese calligraphy, on the other hand also has the texture and effect of Western contemporary art. Showing the interplay of light and shadow, it exhibits a rich and layered quality. Her drawings of the overlapping lights and shadows in groups of flowers and trees produced the two series “The Dense Shade” and “The Big Trees Family”, containing a rich and deep mood. And from the serenity of the night time she developed the series “Glowing Night”, along with many other motifs. This character of the paintings not only displays the artist’s inner feelings, but at the same time also records the evolution of her painting style. This style is composed of an Eastern literati aesthetic, and also indicates a new direction for the development of modern art.