Artist of the Week – Yuanyuan Yang

Posted on March 18, 2013 · Posted in Artist of the Week

Yuanyuan Yang’s background has largely been influenced by her varied background. Born and raised in Beiijing, she now lives and works in Queens, New York. Her East meets West experience has been at the forefront of her painting.

In the Chinese culture, traditionally there is a strong relationship between color and desire. ‘Se’ is a word with multiple meanings. It means “color” and at the same time means “lust”. In Buddhism, ‘se jie’ which literally translates into “color world”, is used to describe the material world. Yang uses the concepts of colour and lust, pulling them in together to represent colour and lust in a material world. Yuanyuan Yang describes individuals’ desires by using emitted rainbows to illuminate their lust and objects around them.

In her own words

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background and how you became an artist?
I am a Chinese artist in NYC. I got my BF in painting from CAFA (Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing), and MFA from NYAA (New York Academy of Art, NY). I think it`s not difficult to become an artist if you keep making art after you graduate; but what is difficult is how can you feed yourself and keep making art.

What influences have driven your work and why?
It is not so easy to say what exactly my influence is. Maybe because my dad wanted me to learn art since I was young; maybe because I had some talent and got my satisfaction from making art; maybe because art is the best way for me to express my mind. Now, art is a must for me.

You studied in Beijing now you living in the US. Do you think that this affects your work? Does the Chinese perspective differ from the American perspective in regards to the Art world? If so how?
When I was in China `technique` was talked about a lot, but in the U.S. people pay more attention to `concept`. For me, I think I do have my technique and concept is also very important. Also, my attitude to logic has changed a lot; I think I was more perceptual before.

What artists have influenced you, and how?
Like most artists, I have too many other artist`s names on my list that I respect, from old masters to new-media artists. But my influences are not just from art; there are also movies, books, comics and music inspired me very much. I think there is no absolutely original idea in the world, no matter whether in science or in art. We are now what we see, what we read, and what we hear and experience. I think that creating for me is a reaction I have to all of this in my life.

I really like the way you use of colour and form to bridge the East/West divide. Are your paintings created aesthetically or for the sake of communication and greater understanding?
Thank you for the comment. I think I care about both. First of all, it’s a painting; I created it from my sense of aesthetics. I want it the way I like, it doesn’t need to be beautiful in general. The subject matter, daily life, is what I’m interested in. There are opinions, questions, and hypotheses hiding in there. I give a hint with titles; I want my audience to look for their own answers. I don’t want to force them to have the same idea as me.

In your current exhibition, Refracted Beings. What was the most difficult piece in this series for you?
Then- never again!

Where do you hope to take your work and ideas in the next few years?
I will try to use other art forms. (I made two little sculptures for this show. I enjoyed them a lot and got a lot of good feedback.) Also I was creating some photograph projects. Next year, I want to stop-frame animation with my written music if possible. As for painting, I will continue making my rainbow series, but there will be some challenges on color and subject.

Yuanyuan Yang is from Beijing, China. She has her BFA in painting from Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing and her MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including at Jack the Pelican Presents (NYC), Windham Fine Arts (Windham, NY), Ethan Cohen Fine Arts (Switzerland), The Masur Museum of Art (Monroe, LA), and Chongqing University Art Museum (China). Yang has recently had her first solo exhibition, Refracted Beings, in New York City.

 All images courtesy of Yuanyuan Yang | www.yuanyuanyang.com

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