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In this latest series of works, Shih Yun tests the influence of external physical and metaphysical forces- wind and chance on the glorious mark-marking process. At random intervals, she attaches Chinese brushes dipped in Chinese ink to the tips of branches of trees in various settings across Singapore and allows the chance movement of the wind to create the marks. Each brush stroke created by the tree and wind is spontaneous, without the constraints of a limited visual vocabulary, creating drawings of absolute freedom and honesty. The resulting 'tree drawings' are then selected and transferred onto silk-screens. The silk-screens are then used by Shih Yun to create abstract paintings on linen of various sizes.
This series of works continue to explore the mystic aspects of the drawing process (accidental and impermanent manifestations) in Shih Yun's works. Through inventive, often playful techniques since 1999, she have been using non-traditional tools like household brooms and mops, rollar-blades, remote control cars as well as toy robots with the traditional medium, Chinese ink in her works.
Chinese ink was invented by the Chinese philosopher, Tien-Lcheu in 2697 BC and became commonly used in 1200 BC. In China, ink is the origin of calligraphy and painting. The clash of old (Chinese ink) and new (the non-traditional tools and ideas) intrigues Shih Yun immensely. Her main intention of using these non-traditional tools is to surrender authorial control, to release drawing from its enslavement to the artist's hand.
Each work in Conversation with trees celebrates nature, the medium, ink itself and its playfulness. Every work invites contemplation of the process of their making and whatever the viewer imprints on to them.
Born in Singapore 1976, Shih Yun began her artistic career after graduating from San Francisco Art Institute. In 2004, she founded INSTINC, an art space in Singapore that runs exhibitions, artists' talks, workshops, international artists' residencies program and champions collaborations with different artists/groups. Apart from paintings and drawings, Shih Yun works with diverse mediums including silk-screen, video and painting directly on 16mm films. Influenced by Abstract Expressionists, she is known for her strong energetic use of black ink and a passionate obsession with capturing the elusive moment that exists between chaos and order. Shih Yun has exhibited at numerous leading art spaces in Singapore and Europe in the past ten years. Her recent exhibitions include “New Readings” at Esplanade Jendela Visual Arts Space, Stiftelsen 3,14 gallery, Norway and 'Hello World', Ito Folk Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan.