Mingzhu Yuan

Tension, 2017

Time Split, 2017

Untitled, 2018

Mirror Stage, 2018 Acrylic on canvas 48” x 30” inches

Intestine, 2018

Pink Intestine, 2018

Self Portrait, 2018 Acrylic on wood 15” x 40” inches

Rhythm, 2017 Acrylic on wood 24” x 48” inches

Artist Statement

I suffer from Gastritis, a group of conditions in which the stomach lining is inflamed, which causes upper belly pain, intestinal spasms, nausea, vomiting and insomnia. I reflect on these experiences and visualize them in my works. I wake up in the middle of the night from pain and I turn to my practice in these hours as a relief strategy. My stomach always calms when listening to the sounds made by the brush strokes against the canvas. Mainly working with two dimensions, in the beginning of my senior year I shifted from illustration to abstract painting, turned my drawings into stuffed fabric soft sculptures, and made a performative video based on these sculptures. My works encompass all physical dimensions, finding the stillness in movement and movement in stillness. As I work, the ambiguous forms and mixing colors navigate me through my life. My works are a reflection of both my interior and exterior states, becoming self portraiture during the journey of their making. I used to identify the paintings as references to my internal digestive system, but now I feel like I am the piece of meat I constructed. Currently, I am very concerned about my gastritis condition and confused about the future as I am not confident that my body’s strength will support my later career. For me now, painting and making abstract meat-like objects is a meditative journey which releases me from anxiety. Tension is another part of my thesis. I play with opposites: hard and soft, strong and weak, cold steel and warm fabric, smooth and textured, functional and decorative. I intend to make something beyond my own body, something unmanageable, to the point of being painful: a squeezed, compressed form with a defenseless desire.