創作自述

我的繪畫表達了個人與文化的歷史。在臺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。身為住在美國紐約的華人,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。

在旅美40年的創作旅途中,不斷尋找新的創作模式,企圖表現出藝術的多種可能,從自我對話中找到和諧與平衡。創作的歷程上,最初探討「地、氣、水、火」四大元素的主題,經歷一段時空背景的轉換後,心緒思維也不斷隨之成長和改變,但唯一不改變的是代表個人精神象徵的「線性」語彙。 _不論是平面繪畫上的大海深川與崇山峻嶺、象徵女人的花語形構亦或立體作品塑陶敷上釉彩,終究是「線」在定義形體,在具體化形體的屬性;換句話說,形的命定是由線來決定。繪畫上,表達個人與文化的歷史,而今我的線條將走出繪畫的框架,不只是擴展到雕塑的範疇,更加入環境的考量,衍伸出裝置藝術作品並試著結合日常生活展現在服裝上。透過此計畫,串起四十年來各個階段、各種形式的作品,梳理出自我的藝術脈絡同時回看藝術生涯一路上的成長。

Art Statement

What is water did Bloom, water lover, drawer of water, water carrier returning to the range, admire?….. Its universality… its unplumbed profundity…. the restlessness of its waves and surface particles…

-James Joyce

Earth, air, water, and fire are the center subjects of my art. I live in New York City-it is close to the ocean, and I’ve developed a deep affinity for the sea, which has also evoked sentiments in me for what has across on the other side of the ocean. Majestic mountains in Europe and the U.S. those I’ve seen with spectacular ridgelines or forms are what I want to pay homage to. The sky’s ever-changing atmosphere, fire’s brilliance, and all the energies embodied in nature are the most things that I am in awe of.

—- Leigh Wen

My works express my personal and cultural histories. Having grown up on the island of Taiwan, I have a deep affinity for the elemental power of water and the forces of nature. As a Chinese now living in America, I feel the ebb and flow of competing cultures. The ancient philosophies of my homeland, which teach self-discipline and selflessness, collide and mingle with Western notions of ego, alienation, and desire.

My working method is a process of subtraction from darkness to light. I carved into the paint with a stylus to bring forth the individual lines that are the central motif of my work. 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 work’s emotional range; 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, the work remains deeply autobiographical.

I had completed a series of monumental paintings of the four elements of Western cosmology. I have completed Water Mural (10ft X 50ft), Fire Mural (10ft X 30ft), Earth Mural ( 10ft X 30ft), and Air Mural (10ft X 30ft) sponsored by The Pollock Krasner Foundation. Each large painting employed some variation of my essential wave motif ( ~ ~ ~ ); the completed series will constitute a comprehensive whole that will explore the infinite and the universal.

I work in several different media, including printmaking, metal engraving, fiberglass, ceramics. Though most of my paintings are completed entirely with oil on canvas, they retain elements of these other mediums, in particular, the scored and scratched textures of the intaglio plate and the engraved surface. In a sense, these borrowings also express the tension and richness of simultaneously inhabiting two different worlds, where both, as Joyce wrote in Ulysses carve their persevering penetrativeness into my psyche.

I had an exhibition in 2015 in Beijing Fond Museum. It was titled 1 / 0. It is a pairing of the idea of “one” and “none”, of “positive” and “negative”, reducing the con- traditions in Wen’s work to this basic duality. It is 1 and 0, the ancient concept of yang and yin that has shaped Chinese philosophy for centuries.

However, it is also the modern language of digital technology. It is the binary code of ones and zeros, the same language of Asia’s future. It is thus both the past and the future in one. It is the balance between two poles.

By frequently travels between my two “homes” in the U.S. and Taiwan, and such experience brings me to continuously think about my connections with the surrounding and the homeland in my art career. The exhibition reflects the different phases throughout 35+years of my artist career, including my inner journey and artistic developments, with unwavering feminine stamina flowing through my artworks as they go through transit and transformation.

–Leigh Li-Yun Wen