Elemental Truths: Works on Paper by Hui-Chu Ying

November 1, 2003 - January 31, 2004
Isroff Gallery

Hui-Chu Ying, who was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1956, came to this country in the early 1980s. Since 1989, Ying has taught printmaking at The University of Akron's Myers School of Art, where she she is an associate professor. This exhibition presents work created by the artist over the last two years, culminating in the mural-sized Peace Prayer created specially for this space. These sensuously beautiful works on paper combine processes from traditional printmaking, which is rooted in reproducibility, with painting, drawing, and even sewing, techniques that result in one-of-a-kind objects.

Layering - adding one thing atop another without altering either's essence - is an important characteristic of Ying's work. She not only places handwork over a mechanical process, color over color, image over pattern, and language over image, but also combines techniques and materials from contemporary Western-based culture with traditions from Asian art.

The sources of the artist's symbolism are equally varied. Over the past few years, an ancient Chinese book of prophecy and wisdom known as the I Ching (Book of Changes) has been very important to Ying. Among its contents are lists of emotional qualities such as Ease/Yi and Gathering/Lien and descriptions of the physical world, as in its definition of the six Elements of Energy. Spain became an important source of inspiration for the artists in 2002-2003, when she spent time there as artist-in-residence at a print studio. Firsthand experience of religious art, the architecture of Antonio Gaudi and the paintings of Joan Miro and Antoni Tapies brought new symbols, shapes, and colors into her work.

In Ying's art, opposing elements are layered together to form a perfect harmony, an underlying truth. In discussing her art, Ying paraphrases Lao Tzu, a 6th century B.C.E. Chinese philosopher: "Positive always comes with negative. Take them as a whole and they will turn around."

This exhibition, organized by the Akron Art Museum, was made possible by generous support from OMNOVA Solutions Foundation. The artist's creation of the artworks was assisted by financial support from the Faculty Research Committee of The University of Akron.