Our latest Artist You Need To Know is Xiaojing Yan 闫晓静. She is a Chinese-Canadian artist whose “work embraces her sense of having a hybrid identity.” (from her site)
Curator and critic Suzanne Luke offers the following about Yan’s art : “Yan’s blending between East and West, human and animal, and scientific and holistic in her art practice creates a cultural hybridity or “otherness” that is mesmerizing. She bridges her past with the present and possibly the future to bring viewers into an ephemeral world where memories and personal experience metamorphose into new ways of seeing and understanding.”
Xiaojing Yan describes her ideas and aesthetic in this manner: “The Chinese seeds of my art, rooted for fifteen years in Canadian soil, push their way up through the woven layers of my identity as a first-generation Chinese-Canadian. As these seeds push through the complexities of my immigrant experience into the creative work of my art, they become a bi-cultural lens of the natural world for what it’s like to balance between two cultures.
I often start with materials rich in physical qualities (pine needles, pearls, Lingzhi mushrooms, cicada exuviate, etc.), which also emanate religious, mythological and cultural connotations. Then I reinvent these within a contemporary aesthetic and presentation. I’m currently focused on how nature, an inherent force within traditional Chinese art, transcends culture.”
She has had solo exhibitions at Hermès Maison (Shanghai, China), Richmond Art Gallery (BC, Canada), Gallery 456 / Chinese American Arts Council (NYC, U.S.), Suzhou Museum (Suzhou, China), Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, ON, CA), Zhangjiagang Museum (Zhangjiagang, China), and Varley Art Gallery (Markham, ON, CA). Yan has also created a number of site specific installations that can be described as architectural works in the public sphere. These include Moon Gate (2016), Sound of the Rain (2017) and Dwelling (2018). A more detailed list of her public art installations can be seen here.
She has been awarded a number of grants, including the 2014 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Project Grants from the Canadian Council for the Arts, the Chalmers Arts Fellowship, Mid-career Grants from the Ontario Arts Council, and a 2018 OAAG Exhibition Installation and Design Award.
A time lapse video of Yan’s Lingzhi Girl (we’ve shared a few images of this work above) can be enjoyed here and a recent artist feature on her work can be read here. Visit her site here, for more images of her evocative, intensely process oriented art practice.