Moni Oolyonhai: Homage to Mongolia

When 8 Jan 2011 - 30 Jan 2011
Where Crossing Art
136-17 39th Avenue, Ground Floor th
Flushing, NY 11354
United States
Enquiry 212.359.4333

Moni Oolyonghai, Green Heaven, 2010, oil on linen. Courtesy of the artist and Crossing Art Gallery, New York

January 8 –  January 30, 2011

Opening Reception: Saturday January 8, 4:00 – 6:00 pm

Artist Talk moderated by Mai Mang: Saturday January 15, 3:00 – 6:00 pm

Press Release:

Crossing Art is pleased to announce the opening of Moni Oolyonhai: Homage to Mongolia. The exhibition, curated by David Rong, features recent paintings by Moni Oolyonghai that depict landscapes of an ethereal world based on the artist’s homeland of Inner Mongolia in China. The paintings evoke a sense of longing for the land of Oolyonghai’s youth paying homage to both the physical and cultural aspects of his native Mongolia.

Mongolian painting of the 20th century was dominated by socialist realism, but since the 90s has evolved to include more abstract and hybrid styles including a contemporary version of Mongol Zurag.  Although Mongol Zurag had been almost abandoned during the socialist period, its recent revival has produced a number of interesting artists including Oolyonghai.  Mongol Zurag is an amalgam of different influences, a mix of shamanistic nomadic culture of the early Mongols and Buddhist artistic traditions that combined, captures the “spirit” of the country.  A sign of how Mongolia’s cultural and political identity has historically been entwined is the ornate symbol found in the leftmost bar of the national flag which is the Buddhist icon Soyombo. It represents the sun, moon, stars, and heavens per standard cosmological symbology abstracted from that seen in traditional Buddhist thangka paintings. Oolyonghai’s paintings encapsulate the cultural, political and historical roots of Mongolian nomadism and Buddhist spirituality both in the images he depicts and in the personification of physical distance through his rich, expressive brush strokes.

The landscape of Mongolia is made up of rural areas covered by steppes, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. To Oolyonghai, the countryside is where one retreats to be free and replenish oneself.  It acts as a spiritual sanctuary without walls and is a place where one connects oneself with the earth of the past.  Oolyonghai’s paintings portray a sense of separation while simultaneously yielding a close proximity.  This prevalent paradox is in unison with the artist’s sentiment for the rich, cultural, and spiritual heritage of his homeland.

Moni Oolyonghai began his career in China studying at the Lu Xun College of Fine Arts. He moved to the US to continue his studies at The School of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. Oolyonghai has exhibited internationally and throughout the US with recent exhibitions in Boston, New York, and China. His works are included in numerous public and private collections. The most recent acquisitions of his works have been by The Beijing Museum of Contemporary Art and The Moakley Center, Boston, MA.  The artist divides his time between his studios in the US and China.

For additional information please contact Jennifer Junkermeier at