Shen Han Wu is an accomplished oil painter working in a realist style. Unlike other artists who choose idealized subjects, he prefers to depict figures from daily life. He says, “If the unusual and the exceptional cause surprise and even shock, then I prefer the everyday. Whenever I think of the countryside, the mountain villages, streams and chimney-smoke, I think of those simple, kind people. They start work at sunrise and at sunset come home to rest. They work very hard and live side by side with nature; they are ordinary people but in their eyes you can see something which moves you.”
Most of Shen Han Wu’s works are portraits. He describes life in the Chinese countryside in a straightforward way, using fine, clear brushwork and subtle, subdued colours. Whether he is depicting country girls, workers or Red Guards, these are all people who are closely connected with his own life. His paintings convey the warmth and empathy he feels towards his subjects. Underlying all his work is a belief in the simple sincerity of country people and a deep nostalgia for the peace and simplicity of country life.