My artistic journey began in San Francisco – taking workshops with various artists, then attending the UC Berkeley Extension Baccalaureate Program in Visual Arts. I then moved to Hong Kong and joined the MA in Fine Arts program at Chinese University of Hong Kong.
In my practice, I am often interested in combining Chinese aesthetics and expressions with Western context or techniques. That’s rooted in my cross-cultural identity – having grown up across three continents (Asia, US, and the UK).
“Cultural Crosscurrents and the Unconscious Mind”
This series is rooted in my cross-cultural identity and is motivated by my fascination of human emotional responses to social turmoil and political strife. It comprises of figurative paintings. I began this series soon after the unexpected passing of a loved one. Many of the images were inspired by tombstones and sculptures typically found in cemetery. As such, the impetus, values/palette, gestures and compositions of this series were derived from Dark Romanticism and Symbolism. These movements had also been rooted in the psychology of the unconscious mind, mystery and spirituality -- similar drivers to my own inquiry in this series.
In this series, I also sought to redefine my cultural identity and expressions in my art practice. Through the use of both oil and acrylic, my pieces create a dreamlike quality using a palette similar to those of Dark Romantics. However, I had replaced traditional depictions of witches and monsters with ominous-looking Chinese opera masks and Chinese cultural symbols to depict cultural tensions and a perceived threat of the mysterious East. The colors in the Chinese opera masks hold different meanings. Most notably, all of them are either hidden or distorted in the paintings to make them more ambiguous and foreboding.
“Cultural Crosscurrents and Vulnerability”
This series was motivated by my fascination of human vulnerability and emotional responses to chaos and loss. I continued in seeking to redefine and reconcile my cultural identity and expressions through this series by blending Asian aesthetics and Western abstract expressionism.
In the series, I explored gestures, lines, shapes, and colors using mixed media (i.e., ink, pastel, and acrylic). My choice of materials represents the fragility and transiency of human (and natural) life. Non-representational abstraction is conducive to expressing deeper and more profound feelings. These abstract forms traverse cultural barriers and visible boundaries to create a sense of universality and pluralism, providing a nonpartisan language for emotional and spiritual quests. I used free-flowing lines, active brush strokes, overlapping layers, and gestures reminiscent of Chinese calligraphy to create a mix of Chinese and Western forms in capturing the dynamic movements and tensions in nature.