The use of pattern books such as the "Cheih Tzu Yan Hua Chuan" in Chinese painting has helped generations of Chinese artists and collectors appreciate the symbolic elements of Chinese painting. The "Four Gentlemen" of traditional Chinese art are the chrysanthemum, the plum-blossom, the orchid and the bamboo.
The chrysanthemum flower is the dominant motif in Alannala Lau Wai Lun's art. The chrysanthemum flower is a symbol of the sun and is associated with longevity and immortality. Throughout Asia the chrysanthemum has also been associated with notions of fullness and completeness. It is a symbol of perfection. In China the chrysanthemum flower has also become a symbol of Taoism's profound naturalism and its lessons of simplicity, openness and wisdom.
The Tao Te Ching (The Way and the Power) is the spiritual guide for millions of Chinese: "There is a being, wonderful, perfect; it existed before heaven and earth. How quiet it is! How spiritual it is! It stands alone and it does not change. It moves around and around, but does not on this account suffer. All life comes from it. It wraps everything with its love as in a garment, and yet it claims no honour, for it does not demand to be Lord. I do not know its name, and so I call it Tao, the Way, And I rejoice in its power."
In the seventeenth century Dutch and Flemish masters of flower painting created analytical, highly detailed and highly finished works that were a reminder that beauty may be ephemeral. In the same spirit, Alannala Lau Wai Lun's use of thin over painting and the deliberate dripping of paint down the canvas suggests the flowers' imminent decay. All things must pass.
- Jonathan Thomson