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By The Skanner News
Published: 19 April 2006

The Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center invites the public to celebrate Asian Heritage Month and the contribution of Asian artists to the Pacific Northwest with "Harmony: Nature and Human Beings," a collection of watercolor paintings by Ming X. Wei.

The exhibit runs from May 4 through June 17 at the center, 5340 N. Interstate Ave. The center's gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The artist will host a reception and discussion from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25. Wei's paintings testify to his mastery of traditional Chinese brushwork, as well as his respect for nature's power — both here in our own backyard and in his native China.

Wei's brushstrokes pay tribute to both major schools of Chinese watercolor painting: Xieyi (the Southern school); and Gongbi (the Northern school). Where the more popular Southern style uses loose, impressionistic strokes, the Northern style documents the painting's subject in meticulous detail.

Wei uses these forms to express his enchantment with his adopted home, the Pacific Northwest, with works such as "Multnomah Falls" and "Mt. Hood." Wei's work has also been displayed at La Zhu Arts & Antique Gallery in Portland and the Int'l Gallery in Beaverton.

Wei's work is also testament to a dream lost and then found again. At age 66, Wei has been painting professionally for only 10 years, having put his childhood artistic ambitions on hold to build a successful career as a geologist and raise his family in China. He returned to study painting at the College of LeNian,Guangxi Province Teachers University, in Guilin, China, in 1996 after being encouraged by his wife. Weirelocatedto Beaverton in 2004 to live with his daughter.

"Since the moment that my dad picked up the paintbrushes, his life has been totally transformed," said his daughter, Susan Wei. "Since then, art has become the everlasting topic among us. My dad is one of the most positive persons I've ever met in my life. His wisdom and humor brighten each day of my life."

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