Yen Yen-Jui Lai
Medium: Drawing

Studio Location:
Reis Studios - Studio# 314
43-01 22nd Street



Artist Bio:
2016 M.F.A. Painting and Drawing, Pratt Institute, NY
2013 B.F.A. Visual Communication Design, National Taiwan University of Arts, Taipei, Taiwan

Solo Exhibition
2016 [ ~ ], Dekalb Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Group Exhibition
2017, Benefit Art Show & Exhibit for Ni??os de Guatemala, Primary, New York, NY
2017, 36th Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition, Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois
2017, Postcards form the Edge, Visual Aids, Chelsea, NY
2016, Art Mora, Chelsea, NY
2016, Art Mora, New Jersey, NY
2015, Second Fall Double Decker Show, Greenpoint Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2015, Open Call, Lorimoto Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2013, Meet Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
2012, Must Die, National Taiwan University of Arts, Taipei, Taiwan

Site-Specific Installation
2016, Water Room, Steuben Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2014, Where is Amber, Taichung, Taiwan

Award and Residency
2017, The Drawing Room Residency, Kutztown, PA
2016, ArtSlant Round 7 Showcase winner, NY

Artist Talk
2015, Artist Talk, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY

Artist Books
2014, [ - ] , Self-printed and bound book. Edition 50
2014, Lonely Bottle, Self-printed and bound book with wood. Edition 5
2013, The Wardrobe, Self-printed and bound book. Edition 10

Artist Statement:
I draw something that I fear or something I do not understand.

By living on an isolated island in East Asia. My world is composed of stories and literature. These become the only way I connect to the outside world and feel free inside my mind. My imagination floats on water and the air surrounds me. I listen to the sounds of the ocean, and find the same rhythm in my heart.

For a person who lives on an island, the ocean is the end of the world. Space and time are blocked there, like a completely closed form. An outsider cannot pass through it, and an insider cannot escape. However, for the ocean itself, it is the beginning and the endless moment. I cannot understand the possibility of infinity. The ocean contains all kinds of consciousness, and it scared me a lot. In 2014, I made a big decision to leave the island where I used to live, but I suddenly realized I had just traveled from one island to another. By trying to escape, I feel I am drowning no wonder how far I am from the ocean. However, at the same time I know I need it. The ocean is the only connection we have to live in the same space-time, like a miracle in our gloomy lives. So I keep drawing the ocean, trying to overcome it and trying to understand it.

Drawing is a way that forces me to look into objects and directly face my fears. The process feels like a battle; after I finish the works, the fear still exists, but I can live with it. Life is full of sadness and frustration, yet it is fascinating. I want to capture these feelings and remind myself that there are still beautiful things around us. I feel there is an isolated part in my mind, like an island. In some way, I can see the isolated part materialize in my real life. I create a lot of empty space in my work, trying to capture the feeling of floating and leave a place for being isolated. I realize I am always floating, losing my direction in the infinite blue.

Feeling is an abstract form. You cannot really tell how a feeling works like a math equation. If I need to describe the feeling of my works, I will say they feel like silence. There is a lot of white in my works. Clean and white, like a quiet morning after the blizzard. Snow takes away all sound and time. The moment is still and perfect. Although I had never seen snow before I left the tropics; it was somehow the most familiar moment I felt in the north. I think in some ways, the familiar feeling has something to do with my childhood memories. Both of my parents worked in the hospital. The hospital was my home, and I spent most of my early time in it. Clean walls and white colors always helped to quiet my mind from the children???s crying, and I could stay in silence.

Maybe it was the first color I saw.

All images and text copyright Yen Yen-Jui Lai