Natural and Organic: Oil Paintings
Being born and raised in China, I grew up speaking Mandarin. At the age of ten, I arrived at the United States and adopted my English-speaking tongue. In seventh grade, I started to learn Spanish. However, each of those languages had a place and a time reserved for them. Chinese is only spoken among family and in restaurants, while English is used with friends and at school. But not Art. No matter where I was, Art was always the language I felt comfortable speaking the most. To me, art is a form expression and communication in the most genuine sense, one that transcends space, location, and time. Thus, I have always felt it is important to consider the kind of messages I hope to convey through my pieces and make purposeful art. Whether that be a piece that explores a certain idea and philosophy, such as identity and beauty, or a piece that investigates a certain technique, medium, and elements and principles of design, I believe that there is more to art than simply creating for the viewing pleasures for the audience, though, of course, that is very important as well. For inspiration, I find it within things I hold close to my heart, such as my childhood memories, a place or a story that carried meaning, my friends, my family, and my own identity and philosophies.
Because of that, in this collection of artworks, I consciously explored the use of juxtaposition of organic forms and rigid, artificial shapes and borders to create a certain psychological effect and convey the relationship between nature, artifice, and beauty. To achieve that, I first began by coming up with my own interpretation of the word “natural” and “organic.” Ultimately, I defined “organic” as anything that is pure and unmodified by external factors. Originally, when I thought of natural forms, the first thing that came to mind were plants. I felt that plants are perfect examples of life that are grown organically and are mostly unaffected by the external factors. Next, I became more cognizant of natural beauty around me. I found it in my friends. Too often, I feel that my peers and I are negatively affected by the societal and academic pressure around us and are forced to conform to a certain model of perfection. To work in opposition of that, I took candid photos of my friends at their most “natural” moments: when they are relaxed and unaffected by the outside world. To convey a sense of artificiality, I used sharp edges and shapes: a “perfect” form. For example, in many of my pieces, I used solid strips and blocks of colors to achieve that effect. In Natural Harmony, I incorporated perfectly straight lines to evoke a sense of stiffness while still showing that the nature and artifice can complement each other and work in perfect harmony. Finally, during the exploration of nature and artifice, I also investigated the nature of identity through the use of illusions. These illusions, as best demonstrated by the piece Not Just an Illusion, abstractly depict the influence external factors have on an individual by showing that even though one’s image can seemingly be distorted or broken, it will still remain real and beautiful.