The operative field of abstract colourism evolves around a non-linear perspective, wherein the sense of parameter within compositional elements is defined by the employment of colour, each distinct hue embedding an emotional response. The sense of primary and visceral impact demands a sensitivity to light and shade, nuance and brush. Saturation of light and density often incur for more profound meditations, while conceptual latitudes of abstract coloursim enact dialectical considerations as to what returns to Expressionism and what, Impressionism.
In the artwork of Yu Xiao Yu, one has the sense of primacy of colour, and as an autodidact, an equal sense of continued explorations which are closely engaged with the material rather than a sojourn restricted by the imperatives of didacticism or academia. The more brute force or impact occurs as she remains sensitive to light while working with dense applications of paint, a prowess which might astound those who hold that gender might equate with either delicacy, or an alternative "strength" of brush.
The dictates of art-historic query might be withdrawn should we return to the confused incorporation of an aesthetic ascribed as being "oriental" which errantly evolved as the emergent Impressionist radical of the turn of the 20th century. That which was weighed as abstraction was in truth, none other than the "real" of a traditional dichotomy and philosophical dictum which held that the essence of things was the subject at hand. An internal rather than realist gestural which gave life to millennia old techniques, conservative or radical, within China alone. The colourist scheme later developed to embrace a spectrum non-Oriental, with the return of the source, the echo of Impressionism within latter expressionist works, displayed throughout the Jiangsu Delta during the occurrence of the seminal colonial era. The subsequent operation, wherein modernist traditional painters of the mainland, sought to imbue their otherwise pale, pastel and grey toned ink works with a rejuvenation of colours associated with European palettes, allows for a curious comment on historical evolutions and a rather perverse deviation of that of "origin" and that of "influence".
By the 1930's, autodidact (in the literal sense of the term, those who had self-educated themselves to embrace experimentation of colours non-indigenous and leitmotif's of a linear depth) experiments had come to create a brief enactment otherwise expressionist,given a certain naif and savage employment of colour, whereas the more conservative academic artist scholar fell into the absurd mimetic of Impressionism and post-Impressionism. As while, in Europe, the sense of convention had given way to radically "destructive" impulses, anti-art movements rending asunder pre-determinant compositional factors and entire conceptual schools, the course of the act of painting within the nation of China remained in relative stasis.
The greater part of this art-historic operative preamble is to simply denote the travesty of influence and fallacy of the dichotomy of what is "owned" by either Occident and that of Orient. The discourse of contemporary art occurs as an individual demarche, wherein the psyche and personae of each artist is free to alter, experiment and, rarely, originate creations which makes the confines of academicism pale in return. The bolder expression, within a post-Greenberg era, where painting itself is in contest as being either possible/relevant or impossible/revisionist within what has become the conceptual framework of the supposed "international contemporaneous" practice, of an individual painters' voice has often worked either towards their merit or potential disgrace. As an autodidact, Yu Xiao Yu occasionally falters, with the appearance of several conceptual abstracts works all too reminiscent of the 1920's European mannerists, while accomplishing eccentric and provocative oils which attest to an exploration of the "opaque" fields, which seems dispossessed of narrow categorization and philosophical exponent.
With the statement of an intention to depict the internal state, her experiential and spiritual climates resound with a particular intensity and focal strength in colour alone: techniques of etching by knife, bleeding techniques and other tools of post-American Expressionism are by no means unique, yet there exists a delightful sincerity in the artists creations which return to light and nature. It might be said the works are extemporal in form, form following the unwritten transient rule of nature, that which silently defines the impact of the real, the indelible of memory and the greater force, the imaginary. To enact a visual contingency which operates in the indivisible truth might be ascribed to the late and sadly vanished past masters of tradition, and rarely to their neophyte travesties of today: their revisionism is near void of latency, spiritually vacuous and ludicrous, in a manner of speaking, as they aspire to resurrect a modern contemporary derivative of tradition. Amidst this voracious farce, rare few youthful individuals adhere to a more authentic exploration of the potential which lies and might lie in opting for contemporary expressions by way of paint as a medium. The more popular ocular spectacles of new media, video installation and virtual reality appear to predominate for the youth culture, while the elder have arisen to object to the extenuated presence of a "foreign" contemporaneous influence.
In itself, these latitudes of orientations popular and populist prove dismissive for the more seclusive spirit who desists either majority in practice. Yu Xiao Yu spends great time in fields of nature and remote areas drawing, etching and later, painting in the attempt to depict the internal of her imaginary real while eschewing illustrative evocations of the surrounding breath of nature. It is a visceral course which is unsparing, and the artist has yet to have secured the sense of serene contemplation for a rather more angst engagement with that which occurs visually with her forceful experiments to concretize that impression internal in her chosen material & medium.
This is far from the radical dichotomy of popular iconography and symbolic gestural painting of object/subject, she incurs a more poetical license in her attempts to coalesce the domains imagined and real, we might state expressionist in nature, yet their exists traces of an indelible union which are possessed by antiquity. Apart from the syncretic derivative experiments owing to a visually evident European abstraction, we sense a lyrical quality which absorbs light, the presence of "force amateur" yet skillfully affording the silence of emptiness and employment of sombre hues, the "grey" of the spectrum experiential.
The vibrancy of a near absurd gestural act where in extreme density of oils and colour saturation converges with the sparse of line and scarcity of shadow delineates a conscientious orientation to depict the natural and contradictory real of the internal sphere of existence. The works are not belonging to the hyper-aestheticism of tradition which renders all the essence of things in a perverse dilation beyond actual cognitive recognition, nor exactly, the brusque naif superficiality of the Abstract Expressionist's mythologized by the 1960's American contemporary hemisphere. She appears to, on occasion, grasp an interim "truth" which again, at times, escapes her altogether. The sense of a random expressive force which barely trespasses on the silent and indivisible, yet one which does not precariously prey upon the vicissitudes of contemporary justification and conceptual sequester.
Being young, inexpert while the course of art-historicism millennia old and the truth of nature timeless, these rare shrapnels of lucidity, in the intention of coalesce expressions of the external and internal merger of nature, imaginary or visual, demarcates a genuine spirit in an adversity to not only predominant aestheticism (to return to the facile of history) yet moreover, acts as a statement upon the extent and degree that essentialism and primacy of knowledge dominate our sensibility. An individual soul, reclusive, returns with the random of nature, beautiful or savage, with a palette impregnate with her own subjective experiments and instance of life…in themselves, if we may equate the artist as being inextricably entwined or defined by their creative impetus, juxtapositions upon our academic, pedagogical and technocratic vanity.
In an era wherein the contemporaneous exists as refractions of experiences temporal, the artist acts with the distinction of locality and singularity. Having thus recently emerged from a seminal phase of experimentation in concept and formal aspects, she has matured to the point of executing rather original paintings which prove evocative and reminiscent: in that, the artworks act evidentiary to the arduous and perhaps eternal engagement of the self, the soul with the colossal of nature. Thus, the axiomatic and theoretical is silenced, we have a raw and visceral visual attestant to experiences mundane yet spiritual, common yet exemplary in the exquisite savagery of colour and gesture. The latency of nature and the primacy of colour occasional merge in well reasoned compositions, at times conflict, yet, the quest for depictions of states external/internal may amount to nothing else, otherwise, we would witness a non-artistry given to fabulate, fiction or historical imperative. She has opted, consciously or not, to desist the formal, popular and sensational, there is no spectacle here other than an extemporal account in paint of what remains within he heart, as she naively endeavors to inscribe the momentous quality of life.
Traces symbolic, limitations defied, life crudely witnessed as transient, her works attest to the fallacious of the nominal importance of rhetorical device and imperative of historical ontology: she induces ephemeral truths and is able to pierce fabrics of time with a primal force of speculations in torrents of colour and visceral passion. The passion is drawn from the proximate of nature, rather than, proximity of theory, the theoretics of cloud, wind and elements impervious resound within her canvas. Brute, naif or spiritual, we have an artist whose successive brushstrokes prove that a visual echo is, in truth, a response of nature.
R. A. Suri