Various forms of elements are very active in Yan Ping's works. Whether they are strokes, lines, shapes or color and spatial structures, they leave a volatile impression on people as if they are ready to come out of the painting.
The most striking dynamic comes from the screen color contrast. Her color segmentation is chunky and concentrated, which looks neat and comfortable. Especially the contrasting bright colors and proper color blocks, display abundant base material in the sparkles and bring the picture uncertain momentum.
Regardless of the tendency to visual perception or spiritual symbols, colors in Yan's works are coherently integrated. This characteristic is very prominent in her recent works, such as Going the Distance, Juvenile Going about Jianghu, I was born a man. Her use of color in the picture is difficult to categorize in the standard of certain school or style, but shows instant flash of emotional imagery with an integrated approach. With the awakening of nationalism in Chinese culture, more artists look for inspiration from traditional and existing folk arts. Yan also started with her most sensitive colors to explore a more personal way of expressing colors. She combines the fun of Chinese folk arts color patterns, which focus on symbolism, with the fun of western modern art that pays attention to visual composition, and highlights modern aesthetic consciousness. By colors, she makes viewers feel the colorfulness and intensity of modern culture. She is good at emphasizing color saturation to make the symbolic proper colors display certain character traits.
Some of her works use the collocation of pink and emerald green, such as A foggy Day, Discovery of the New Continent, Good Times and so on; or the collocation of red and dark green like For Times Ran Fast, You Are Handsome in My Eyes. Some apply the combination of cobalt blue and apricot to the pictures, for example, Discarding the Peach Garden, Going the Distance, etc, These collocations of wild and rich colors themselves produce a kind of courage, to break through the daily routine, to expect to highlight the bright points from the lengthy and various styles, and to make a fresh feeling jump out of the screen. These queer colors, owing to the painter's processing, seem balanced. Uneven texture changes of light-colored painting base make those bright, rich red and pink soft and smooth, emerald and bright green full of gloss, just like fresh flowers' petals and green plants' smooth foliage. Thus, colors become the life state of substance itself, which is the real existence, the strong and plain natural traits as well as the painter's heart-beating rhythms. Being strongly stimulated by the bold contrasting colors, viewers would be shocked visually, and take the information that is mixed with culture, as materials for thinking and reviewing, to foreshadow the emotional sublimation.
The effect created by color tension is not only physical, but also in cultural forms. That is, art gets its forms through the experience of life. "Color" may represent a piece of memory or feeling, or a kind of scent. It will sneak into the heart, becoming the network of the choice between good and evil. It not only solidified to form on the canvas, but also influences painters' choice of objects for performing and their treatment to subject in the forms of mentality and attitudes. Those artists who went down in history have left a personal color trail and they have enlightened the newcomers. In contemporary Chinese oil paintings, Yan’s exploration for color forms has a distinct personality, which creates a new fun for this multicultural era.
To Yan Ping, the real challenge is the spatial processing in painting. It is the first thing to consider for a painter when facing a blank canvas. Also, it is an eternal subject that painting is painting. The shape, color and texture of a work have generated out of spatial processing, then lead to the narrative mode in painting and a touching power. If a history of painting is regarded as the history of style evolution, then it is always in close contact with the way an artist processes the space, for viewing art from its origin, it is the other world created by human that parallels to the real world. Classical art possesses classical illusionary space, and modern art has modern constituting space. Contemporary art advocates collage and multiple space juxtaposition...For Chinese painters like Yan, the key lies in how to deal with an avalanche of western art history. Under the circumstance of reform and opening up in the 1980s, different periods and styles in eastern and western art had sprung up all at once. There were too many new concepts and forms in front of the painters. During the dazzle, they had to ponder about selecting their personal artistic path. Similar to peer artists, Yan took her path from realism to performance. She studied in the School of Arts that belonged to the traditional main veins of realism. But when she turned to more free and strong subjective expressionism, art world in China had been filled with fragments of contemporary art. Like contemporary artists from School of Realism, she was surrounded by "multiple traditions"western, local Chinese, and the combination of both. Diverse artistic concepts have spawned a variety of painting exploration, and processing of spatial structure in her paintings has become increasingly dramatic.
Whether works of cultural theme concept series, or landscapes and still life developed by the sketch, those flying lines and crossed and vertical texture effect in Yan's works, are key factors to make her works look volatile. But these lines and color blocks are not structural elements of the objects in the picture itself, instead, they seem to fly out of the people and flowers in the picture, and were frozen on the screen once they were created by the painter. As a result, these lines become structural elements that are seemingly queer but necessary in the whole picture. At the same time, the expressiveness of the line itself and cultural imagery of writing have also been promoted to a prominent position. Of course, dynamic in her paintings is mainly from internal structure of the picture, as if directions of various forces are woven together, without knowing where they are from and where they would go......This structure seems to be influenced by Cézanne: In a moving sight, the object itself demonstrates a kind of existence, which, of course, is a complement due to people's to visual supplements. But Yan widens or reinforces the distance made up by the momentary illusion. For example, Cézanne would move his sight between few centimeters to form a distance with a sense of moving. However, Yan may move between 50 centimeters to one meter. That is, when watching an apple, unlike her predecessors, she doesn't paint the tiny change in distance in a still life painting of an apple on a canvas at the same time. Her approach is that, when drawing a small green lizard toy, her eyes would fall on a piece of cloth that is 50 centimeters away, or she glances at something or color blocks that is on the top of the cloth, and then glimpses at that green lizard. It's just like objects that people see when he somersaults, which are churning and with such visual balance and reality. Because this is a sight, a viewing angle, no matter from which angle people look, it has its own characteristics.
The sense of reality in her paintings also comes from a sense of time and space, for she uses narration to solve and supplement balance. For example, how people or objects could integrate into the "collapsed" and ruined space, while make viewers feel real, such as Spring Breeze in March, All having a Brave Heart. Another example, how those lush flowers and twisted twigs in the space that without "roots"could make people feel that they still "survive", like Calling for Spring, For Time Ran Fast, etc,. It indeed requires a solution in a planar structure that is associated with reality, but not confined to reality. In her Mother and Son series in the 1990s, it could be seen that she tried to solve the balance for such a structure. For instance, the relationship between mother and child seems unbalanced by the winding body language. Those arms and legs look like new branches, waving there. Because whether mother bathes a child or plays with him, they cannot be quiet, unlike the commonly tranquil state in "mother and son"paintings. Instead, it is a joyful state indicated by limbs language. What echoes this is the furniture, painting stuff and light in the room. The painter intends to adopt a crossed rectangular structure, like the disordered underground pipes or wires above the city streets, which seem in disorder but are full of vitality. Like the wilderness, it grows a variety of plants in a picturesque order. This is particularly evident in her later works, such as Distance, Flying Birds in Heart, Loving Each Other Is Not Alone, etc,. Though most of these works are indoor scenes, people could feel that what the painter refers to in her creation is experience obtained in the sketch. It is the result of the combination of lively vigor and slightly chaotic order.
Painters combine a variety of different language structures in modernist painting, but don’t abandon certain narrative. Yan uses"will",a misplaced relationship with reality, to express a visual imagination. It is quite evident in her The Theatrical Troupe series. In the seemingly ordinary scenes, The Theatrical Troupe, however, surges disorder. Images are changing, daily routine is composed of changing people and things, without beginning or end. Everything is in the process.But this change would not be relieved by the readability of the theme. Viewers' anxiety would be eased when they get a reasonable answer to the narrative content. Because they could imagine that the troupe is preparing for the performance and that the moment of mess is frozen instantly. So the painter explains "reasonably" to and reassures the audience.
In her recent serial works, narrative of the big peony and naked woman are correspondingly weakened to emphasize on the exploration for the scene language. Figures in the painting appear or disappear, being calm or happy; structures of flowers, props and houses, like human’s limbs or flower branches, stretch or twist exaggeratedly. More expanded structure and pen potential have replaced the previous comparative narrative structure, such as Flying Birds in Heart series, My Sun, For Time Ran Fast, Flowers Still Open Next Year and Discovery of New Continent and other works. Their freedom and subjectivity become bright consequently.
Painters cast a glance at the world from an "upside-down" perspective. Then, the reliability of our daily experience is overthrown, which enables the viewers spy "unusual" moments from daily life and see the extraordinary relationships in the world. That relationship reveals deeper and more intrinsic authenticity between people, people and the environment. It is associated with a more intense and stressful, but more passionate and vital spirit. This is actually what the great masters in art history contribute to visual arts.
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