Huan’s Seeds pictures an everyday scene of collective farming, the kind of proletariat image championed in the Maoist era. Executed on mammoth scale, the power of this work is immense, transforming propaganda to near religious experience. Replicated with photographic detail, the painting is entirely constructed from incense ash in a process similar to the sand paintings made by Buddhist monks: each individual tone is sprinkled over the canvas to draw out the picture, with density and fading created by the thickness of the dust application. The texture of the charred incense varies from powdery to granular and straw-like, giving a scorched effect of apocalyptic aftermath, hallowed by the effervescent sweet perfume emitted from its surface.

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