The Four Elements of Leigh Li-Yun Wen

Night Water 17, Leigh Li-Yun Wen, 2012, oil on linen, 107x178 cm, collection of the artist

JANUARY 29-JUNE 19, 2022

 
The four elements of western cosmology—earth, air, fire, water—are the subjects of artist Leigh Li-Yun Wen’s work. Whether paintings, prints, or ceramics, Wen’s art expresses her personal and cultural histories. Having grown up on the island of Taiwan, she possesses a deep affinity for the elemental power of water and the forces of nature. As a Taiwanese-American artist who has lived in both Taiwan and America, she feels the ebb and flow of competing cultures. The ancient philosophies of her homeland, which teach self-discipline and selflessness, collide and mingle with Western notions of ego, alienation, and desire.

Wen’s working method is a process of subtraction from darkness to light. “I carve into the paint with a stylus to bring forth the individual lines that are the central motif of my work,” she notes. These lines flow across the canvas in rhythms and frequencies that create depths and swells on the painted surface. Something of the self is lost in the resulting tangle and then regained, only to be lost again. Simplicity and harmony exist within the chaos of the world.

Color is used to expand the emotional range in Wen’s work: “my palette is drawn not from appearances but from the lyric and psychic necessities of my art.” The uniformity of line, from edge to edge and painting to painting, implies suppression of the artist’s hand in favor of objectivity learned from nature. In spite of this, her work remains deeply autobiographical.
 

我的繪畫表達了個人與文化的歷史。在灣島長大的我對於水的基本力量與大自然懷抱著一種深刻的親密感。身為住在美國的台灣人。我感到文化競爭的退潮與氾濫。在家鄉中誨人自律與無私的古代哲理已和西方世界的自我、疏離與欲望相抵觸、相混雜。我的創作方法是從黑暗到光明的一種過程。我已暗沈的顏料覆蓋在較明亮的底色上,趁著顏料未乾之際再用尖筆刻入其中,透過所產生的獨立線條帶出作品的中心主題。這些頻繁律動的線條在畫布上流洩,在畫面上創造出深度與隆起。其自身則有東西於糾結中失去、再現,然後再度失去。簡單與和諧就存在於世界的混亂中。色彩乃用來擴展作品的情感範圍的。在我的調色盤裡,顏色並非如表面所需,而是出自藝術中抒情與精神上的需要。我完成一系列關於西方宇宙論中四元素的大型繪畫作品,每幅大型作品都會應用到基本波浪圖形,而所完成的系列也將成為探索無垠與宇宙的一個豐富整體。

Leigh Li-Yun Wen

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Leigh Li-Yun Wen is a Taiwanese-American artist who resides in New York City. She received her MFA from the State University of New York at Albany in 1994 and served as a cultural ambassador envoy during the Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations. She has exhibited in eighteen American embassies, consulates, and other government institutions located in countries such as Jordan, Malaysia, Singapore, Namibia, Botswana, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Denmark, and Poland. Wen was awarded a 1997 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and was honored to be the Artist of New York State by the New York State Legislature. In 2000, she was again awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and The Helena Rubinstein Fellowship. In 2001, She won the Lorenzo de Medici Award at the Florence Biennale. In addition, Wen was awarded Artist Grants by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 1999 and 2005 and was invited by then-First Lady Laura Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell to visit the White House in 2005. A frequent nominee to a select list of sixty U.S. artists invited to the White House’s annual arts and culture reception, Wen is an artist held in high esteem not only across the U.S. but also internationally, in curatorial and collectors' circles, for her achievements and the unique character of her work. Wen’s works are held in many private and public museum collections, in the permanent collection of the United States Embassy in Barbados, and the American Institute in Taiwan.

 

藝術家 鄭麗雲  Leigh Li-Yun Wen

 
出生於台北縣鶯歌鎮,紐約州立大學藝術碩士(M.A)及美術碩士(M.F.A)現定居美國紐約和台灣台北,專業畫家。
 
1980年在香港被列選國際亞洲十大傑出才藝青年,1983年前往美國留學。先後獲得1999與2005年美國傑克森帕洛克基金會藝術家研究獎、1997與2000年紐約藝術基金會(NYFA)藝術家聯盟獎得主、作品榮獲2001年義大利佛羅倫斯雙年展米提其獎章及2012年玉山獎。目前是美國聯邦政府合約畫家,作品展覽於世界各國的美國大使館,參與的國際展覽超過18次,曾經展出在波蘭、丹麥、約旦、菲律賓、新加坡、包貝多斯、博茨瓦納、賴比瑞亞、非洲的美國領事館,其中包貝多斯展出的三件作品, 和台灣美國在台協會AIT的五件作品,被聯邦政府收購為美國國家的永久典藏。
 
Painted pink peony with yellow center
Peony 26, Leigh Li-Yun Wen, 166 x 177 cm, 2020, oil on linen, collection of the artist

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Exhibition Support

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This exhibition is presented by the Taipei Cultural Center in New York, Ministry of Culture, Republic of China (Taiwan).

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Leading support has been provided by Omni Development Company, Inc., the Taiwanese American Cultural Society of the Capital District, the University at Albany Foundation, Dorice Brickman, Mr. Alan P. Goldberg, William M. Harris and Holly A. Katz, Vicary and Peter Thomas, and Mr. Daniel L. Wulff. Major support is provided by Eleanor Holbritter Nasner and Margaret F. Holbritter, Mr. Edward Swyer, and Chester and Karen Opalka.

Season exhibition and program support is provided by Phoebe Powell Bender, Mr. and Mrs. George R. Hearst III, Charles M. Liddle III, Lois and David Swawite, the Carl E. Touhey Foundation, Inc., and Candace K. Weir.

 

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Program and exhibition support is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

 

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Promotional support has been provided in part by a grant from The Michele L. Vennard Hospitality Grant Program of the Albany County Convention and Visitors' Bureau Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region.

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