The series Naturally Natural is another instance of Yan's exploration of collaboration between artist, materials, and chance, a variant on the theme of Lingzhi Girl and made during the same period. In this series on yupo paper, she permits the mediums she uses, Chinese ink and acrylic (ancient and contemporary, Asian and Western, respectively) to interact on their own to form elaborate, unexpected patterns with little directive from her. The process is not unlike the pour or drip paintings of modernist abstractionists, the influence, not noted often enough, going both ways as Western artists adapted Asian practices and Asian artists did the same—as, nothing new, has occurred over the centuries.
Letting the process take its own course, as Yan does, is both an empirical act and metaphoric. Her primary input is the choice of materials and their initial application to the paper. The one-off interaction of the ink and acrylic results in a stunning array of serendipitous fissures, crystalline spears, and tangled, filigreed and spikey threads that suggest roots and branches, and the speckled ground behind them is more space than solid, an infinite void conjuring details from Chinese landscapes. In the works here, she has added gold, to make them more opulent, luminous.