Born in Northwest China, Guo Fengyi (1942–2010) was a factory worker until arthritis forced her to retire. Attempting to heal herself, she studied qigong, a centuries-old Chinese combination of meditation, movement and breathing. The electrifying large-scale ink drawings she began to produce in her late forties record the visions she had while meditating. The results, built from hair-fine brushstrokes of colored inks, depict double-ended beings on narrow scrolls measuring up to 16 feet long.
Boundaries are blurred in Guo’s renderings as whorls and lines, representing the body’s life forces, resolve into faces, figures and landscapes. Two bunlike protrusions on the head of a Buddhist deity appear to double as antennae. A green personage—part plant, part woman—sprouts a red and yellow bloom. And Santa Claus makes an appearance as a cocoon-shaped figure with bearded faces at either end.
Another group of works charts the body’s meridians and pressure points. But it is Guo’s towering figures that steal the show, emanating powerful energies that seem to vibrate throughout the gallery.