A decade, A passion, the Portrait Painter of the U.S. Presidents
● Janet Zhang，U.S.
People who live life with passion and devotion are believed to possess a noble state of mind and heart. Broad-minded, they not only have elegant taste, but also know how to be tolerant and to look on the bright side. In this way, they are able to make a positive impacts on people around them with their ideas, their actions, and their optimistic attitude.
Gang Ma, the Chinese artist, is such a person. He has spent the last 10 years creating portraits of 46 U.S. presidents. His works nourished my heart and moved me.
Since first coming to the United States in 1996 for his solo exhibition, Gang Ma has held several exhibitions across the U.S. in the following decade. Over the years, he has traveled to many American cities and gained new perceptions and thoughts about the country. Accordingly, he began to study American history, conduct research on American presidents, and explore the trajectory of the social and historical evolution of America. All these experiences sparked a creative fire in Ma, and, in 2012, he started to paint portraits of all the presidents starting with George Washington. Just this past year, in 2022, he completed his project when he finished his 46th portrait of current president Joe Biden.
In looking at his works, you will notice Ma has a solid foundation in realistic painting and masterful technical skills. His ability to render a person’s character in two dimensions is quite profound. Thanks to his unique painting language, the dramatic visual impact of the colors in each work–along with their emotion and meaning–are sure to remain in your mind long after you’ve stepped away from the painting itself. Ma brilliantly uses his colorful portraits to pay his respect to all the great presidents and their extraordinary lives.
Ma said: “I want to paint and create portraits of outstanding people who impressed me most. It doesn’t matter which country they come from, as long as they have contributed to the development of human civilization. I hope that,through the portrait exhibition, we can have a dialogue with them across time and space, so that more and more people around the world will get to know them and remember them.”
We all have passions and dreams. Ma's years of hard work have made his come true: he is the only Chinese artist who has painted portraits of all the Presidents of the United States. Above all, Ma is a deeply devoted painter, and I wish him well on the success of the exhibition.