Li Shanmei Embraces the Past, Present, and Future of Humanity cover

Li Shanmei Embraces the Past, Present, and Future of Humanity

“The impermanence of life often involuntarily immerses me in thoughts of the past and the future, replacing the present moment,” says Chinese artist Li Shanmei of her solo show, Lucid Dreaming, which is now on view at Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) in downtown Los Angeles.

Known for her otherworldly oil paintings of children, Shanmei embraces a colorful, illustrative style equally inspired by nature and computer graphics. Her work intuits the mysteries of the cosmos through mandalas, geometry, and bold color, elements that embody universal mathematics, spiritual guidance, and ascension. Shanmei’s starry-eyed children represent new-age deities who adapt to the technological innovations of the future while maintaining homeostasis with the natural world of the past.

“I try to stop my thoughts and search for every deity that emerges within me,” says Shanmei, explaining the thought process behind Lucid Dreaming. “She often goes through the process of inner cultivation for me. She never thought she was a separate individual from other creatures. She can combine with past, present, and future things and can also connect with certain scenes, memories, and concepts to feel them and be with them. She is not bound by the laws of the universe, thus seeing a new purpose from this world and generating its meaning of existence.”

Open to the public and free of charge, Li Shanmei’s Lucid Dreaming runs through Feb. 17 at CGH in downtown Los Angeles. The exhibition appears in Gallery 3 alongside CHG’s 10th annual Art Collector Starter Kit in the Main Gallery. For more information, please visit CHG here.

Li Shanmei: Instagram | Lucid Dreaming

All photos published with permission of the artist(s).

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Morgan  Laurens 

Morgan Laurens (she/her/hers) is NOT REAL ART’s editor in chief. Morgan is an arts writer from the Midwest who enjoys saying “excuse me” when no actual pardon is needed. She specializes in grant writing and narrative-based storytelling for mission-driven artists and arts organizations. With a background in printmaking, pop culture, and classic literature, Morgan believes a girl’s best friend is the pile of books on her bedside table.