I am a multi-media artist from China now living in Vancouver, Canada. I have a MFA and BFA from the Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts in China. I have taught at the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, Simon Fraser University, Kwantlen University College and the Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts. Now I am an associate professor and teach painting, drawing, printmaking and interdisciplinary classes at the Department of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia.
As an artist, I have exhibited nationally and internationally. I have received numerous awards from Canada and the United States. I have published two books, and written articles for art catalogues, magazines and newspapers. There have been many critical reviews of my work in Canada and other countries. I have twice been an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts (1986-87 & 1989-90), in addition to eight other colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. I also served on the Canada Council “B” Grant jury, Seattle Arts Commission jury, BC Festival of the Arts jury and the eleventh annual Vancouver Institute for the Visual Arts Awards (VIVA) jury. I have collaborated with artists from England, the United States, China and Canada. My work is in collections in Europe, Canada, the United States and China.
In my recent work I am addressing the question of cultural identity and, in the process, a new synthesis is emerging in my own individual practice of painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, video, photography, digital imagery, text, performance art and installation works.
All cultures are complex, of course, but the one into which you are born is the one you come to understand most profoundly. Thus, this influence is what finds its way into the work of an artist, and I believe it is expressed almost instinctively. If a person should move to another culture, he or she must make both a conscious and instinctive adjustment in seeking to understand what at first is a strange new world. It is within this dynamic milieu that I currently find myself. This relatively sudden generation of “artistic electricity” is fueling change in both my personal life and my work as a professional artist and instructor.
This inevitable conflict of two cultures within my “artistic being” has entered my work since coming to Canada permanently. Of course, one’s whole approach to artistic creation is in a state of constant evolution anyhow. However, none of this can be expressed artistically unless the artist has the required techniques to create in the specific medium at hand. This development is occurring within me because of the significant period of my study and practice that I have experienced. The end result appears to be a new synthesis of my artistic outlook and competence.
This synthesis is undoubtedly affecting my work as an art teacher as well. I believe that visual arts education should encompass not only a rigorous commitment to the development of technical skills, but it should also endeavor to cultivate the young artist’s own personal voice and vision as a member of a larger global culture. The young artist should be encouraged, therefore, to trust his or her intuition in the exploration of a personal “psychological landscape.” Also they should have a strong grounding in contemporary theory and art practice. This is especially important as they move into new media and multi-media approaches to the production of art.