ink and acrylic on yupo paper
‘Naturally Natural’ is Xiaojing Yan’s exploration of the theme of natural growth, an extension of her previous artwork ‘Lingzhi Girl’. In ‘Naturally Natural’, she uses varied media to explore attributes and meanings of self-growth and self-organization. The uncontrollable power of nature to ‘take over’ brings great creativity and vitality to the artwork. Although two-dimensional, the artwork is very expressive, and echoes the sculptural artwork in ‘Lingzhi Girl’. It conveys the process of moving from simplicity to complexity, and from complexity to simplicity, often emphasized in the creation of art. ‘Naturally Natural’ expresses rich meanings including growth and longevity, and the integration of eastern and western cultures, giving the viewer inspiration and space for reflection.
To create ‘Naturally Natural’, Yan poured Chinese ink onto yupo paper and added acrylic, then manipulated the surface to create images resembling roots, nerves, trees, rivers, blood vessels, brain tissue, and coastlines. The works reveal a process of becoming, following uncontrolled paths and extended stems to explore the human mind alongside vitality in nature.
The painting series reflects many dualities: natural, traditional ink combined with synthetic, contemporary yupo paper, fullness and void, control and accident, and Chinese artistic tradition combined with Western abstract expressionism. Yan’s rich and dynamic surfaces are both mysterious and energetic, to be appreciated from a distance as well as close-up.