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HONG MEI-LING(1940-  )

1982 B.F.A. (Painting) San Franciso Art Institute U.S.A.
1984 M.F.A. (Painting) San Franciso Art Institute U.S.A.


Picture album: Looking for Tao, MEI-LING HONG, 1983-1987
Picture album: Looking for Tao, MEI-LING HONG, 1991-1996
Picture album: Looking for Tao, MEI-LING HONG, 1996-2006
Picture album: Looking for Tao, MEI-LING HONG Solo Exhibition, Taipei City Art Museum, 2013


Collection: Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, San Francisco, US
Collection: Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan & Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts


Hong Mei-Ling is from Hualien, Taiwan, a graduate of Hualien Normal School in 1959. In 1977, after some years of teaching, she attended National Academy of Arts Western Painting program. After graduation, she became a student in San Francisco Art Institute(SFAI), and earned an MFA in 1984. As Hong’s art combines gorgeous colors from Western painting and the abstract aura found in Chinese thinking, she has been well-recognized; her work was twice selected/nominated by SFAI annual Spring Show, she also joined multiple local group exhibitions in San Francisco. 

Although Hong resided in San Francisco for years—she confessed—despite the long paths she has walked, it was inconceivable to separate her deep Chinese cultural roots from her life engaged in Western painting; quite the contrary, her mother culture is found interwoven with her creative life in Western art. Unceasingly, her creations attempt to search for a religious, profound and pure state amidst the colorful complexities of daily life. She first painted under the theme Looking For Tao in 1983, ever since then each of her works have been titled Looking For Tao. The exploration of life paths is now her principle subject in painting .

Mountain peaks, valleys, long paths, tunnels, and stairways are main motifs in Hong’s paintings. There are layers of subtle hues under the seemingly simple, colorful shapes; in the calmly-composed layout, something about the paintings beckons one’s sight back and forth. She said, “I deem life a searching journey, chasing after one’s ideal, hence every painting in this series is a small stop on my journey looking for Tao (the Way). Every one of them is like a movement of Life’s Grand Symphony. I thus entitle them in a similar way to which movements are numbered.” For many years, Hong has been like a hermit to the art world, devoted to her creative life. As in the journey searching for the Way, she shows no fear even when facing hardness in the same way as Don Quixote, who clung to his own romanticism even during impossible situations, and voluntarily followed his dreams all the rest of his life.


1985 The Lab Gallery, San Franciso, U.S.A.
1985 Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan.
1990 Space II, Taipei, Taiwan.
1990 Dimensions Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
2001 Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan.
2003 Ke-Yuan Gallery. Taichung, Taiwan.
2013 Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan.
2020 YX Art Space: Looking For Tao 1985〜2019


1983 Walter&Mcbectn Gallery S.F., U.S.A.
1985 Diego Rivera Gallery S.F., U.S.A.
1987 Walter&Mcbean Gallery S.F., U.S.A.
1989 Space II, Taipei, Taiwan.
1991 Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan.
1991 Dimensions Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
1991 Chin Shih Gallery Taichung, Taiwan.
1991 New Trends Gallery Taichung, Taiwan.
1993 Duchamp Gallery, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
1994 Top Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan.
1994 Taipei Normal College Gallery, Taiwan.
1996 Masterpiece Art Center Taipei, Taiwan.
1998 Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan.
 2002 Ke-Yuan Gallery, Taichung, Taiwan.
 2004 Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan.
 2006 CYCU Art Center Chung Yuan Christian University. Chung-Li, Taiwan.
 2008 Tea Gallery Taipei, Taiwan

Looking for Tao

Under distant heavens,
Along endless roads,
I´ve traveled alone,
For a dream、an ideal,
I´ve crossed ranges of mountains,
I´ve passed forests of thorns,
I´ve wandered winding mountain vales,
To search for the utopia of my soul.


“Looking for the Way”is the title of my paintings.

I conceive of life as a quest in search of a dream.
Every one of my paintings represents a small stop on this journey in pursuit of this dream.
Since every piece is like a measure in “ The Symphone of Life”,
I have employed numbers to name each of my canvases.
I will continue my journey in search of the Way till my life´s end.

Looking for Tao #5

1983 USA
Oil on canvas

Looking for Tao #10

1984 USA
Oil on canvas

1984 USA
Oil on canvas 122×85cm

Looking for Tao #11

With a platform leading to the moon, the artist informs us that only with a nearly impossible jump and ascendance could we reach the moon.

Perhaps this is an overtly blunt way of explaining this; however, a structure like this does help us gain a better grasp of the challenging journey and its far-reaching distance.

Capture: Looking For Tao-Hong Mei-Ling Solo Exhibition, P. 76, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2013 NOV

Looking for Tao #23

To the left is a collapsed but temporarily stable cliff; in the middle is the previously wide but now collapsed path; and to the right is a road that is already fallen through. Interestingly, the cliff to the left is like an urban building or store with vivid neon lights, and the fallen pieces of rock are like an assortment of products on display. The entire image is quite commercial, and it also exudes a sense of bliss and sweetness; however, danger is unavoidable, with the pink path scattered with deep cracks and cervices, and the way to the place afar is blocked by those seemingly charming rocks.

Capture: Looking For Tao-Hong Mei-Ling Solo Exhibition, P. 76, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2013 NOV

1986 USA
Oil on canvas 162.5×122cm

Oil on canvas 162×122cm

Looking for Tao #47

Looking for Tao #82

Oil on canvas 122×162cm

Oil on canvas 162×122cm

Looking for Tao #91

Looking for Tao #91 is one of Hong Mei-Ling’s current works from her planned series (#1–#100) begun in 1983. At first glance it possesses a sci-fi flavor—two tall, upward-expanded cliffs meet and are entwined with each other at their tops, and between them is a way, which seems to go through the canvas like a deep tunnel. Something in the smoothly-shaped, tilted clifftop, the unison in teal-green tone, the smooth surface texture and the abnormal lighting, evokes the thought: this is not our familiar physical world. The painting gives one the impression of being on a ride where one is about to dive into a tunnel on a jet plane, and enter some secret base hidden inside.

However, just as the image narrative sends forth a mysterious aura, behind the picture’s layout an Other World is implied—it is an echo of Shan Shui, which pays its tribute from afar to the spirits of the Song and Ming dynasties.

Hong Mei-Ling. Looking for Tao, published in 2008. 1996-2006, A Magic-Realistic State, with the Red Pill Taken—an Analyze of Hong Mei-Ling’s Looking for Tao and Its Resemblance to Shan Shui, Chou Ling-Chih, p.82.

Looking for Tao #99

Oil on canvas 122×162 cm

Oil on canvas 162 × 122 cm

Looking for Tao #100

At the mid-waist of a solitary mountain are several paths, and although this setting is usually quite steep and dangerous, it, surprisingly, projects a bright and warm sense of blissfulness. It is like a bundle of feathers and a fluttering pair of wings. When it seems there is no passage ahead, one only has to gently separate the wings to find a way out. Even more magical is a pair of closed wings situated at the peak, and as it spreads open, the entire mountain is transformed into a bright and grand path that could soar up to the sky. Works like these have resulted from the artist’s very unique and complex personal experiences.

Capture: Looking For Tao-Hong Mei-Ling Solo Exhibition, P. 78, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2013 NOV

Looking for Tao #123

With Looking For Tao No. 123 (2009), Looking For Tao No. 125 (2010), and Looking For Tao No. 130 (2012),
expressions that are different from before are observed. The previous portrayals of flowers by the path and human figures that are striving to climb up are now transformed into broken platforms and roads. With the completely shattered platform comes danger of falling off the cliff, and the path seems to divert into various directions; however, it does not lead to the place at the far distance. It is a sense of happiness for the moment, a transient and superficial sense of joy. The solemn dark colors seem to express the feeling of being stuck, with the final destination unreachable.

Capture: Looking For Tao-Hong Mei-Ling Solo Exhibition, P. 80, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2013 NOV

Oil on canvas 83.5×114cm

Art critic’s comment

Huang Hai-Ming / Director, Taipei Fine Arts Museum

The title of each piece by Hong Mei-Ling is named by a number symbolizing a measure in the artists symphony of life, with the journey documenting the artist’s quest for her dreams. Surprising elements are discovered in her paintings, and so are tranquil solitude, loneliness and also a sense of ease with self-realization. Although not each painting is inspired by a story, they are the artist’s life. Looking For Tao tells of Hong’s extensive creative journey and reflects the faith and decisions she has made in life. The search has not ended, and she will be continuing on “The Way.

——Looking For Tao – Hong Mei-Ling Page 4

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