Let Us Breathe in Fresh Air Through Our Vision
Text/ Ping-Yi Li
For the past fourteen years, I have been deeply dedicated to the art of printmaking. At first, I saw it as a form of self-training, but now it feels like a form of companionship and self-realization. Through my work, I hope to showcase different styles and attitudes at different stages of my life. In the early days, my creations revolved around the concept of “pharming,” which combined elements of animals and plants from my real life with my dreams to create surreal scenes. In the middle stage of my career, I developed the Shell Lady series. This series still seemed to revolve around the concept of pharming , but in fact, I began to project my own image onto the prints. By exploring the boundary between “hidden” and “exposed” through my own experiences, I was able to have a conversation with myself about self-healing.
The year 2020 marked a significant turning point in my life, as I settled down in Taitung and completed my residency at Art Chishang for the first time during the outbreak of the pandemic. These experiences reminded me that it was time for me to open all of my senses to receive the message sent from the land of eastern Taiwan, where I was born and currently reside. I should pay tribute to the beauty that I have always taken for granted with gratitude.
Breathing: Landscape is the beginning of a journey of self-exploration for me. It is the first time I have attempted to capture natural landscapes. It feels like the scenery I see daily has been lingering within me, waiting for the moment my journey began. I like to use colors to interpret the serenity and beauty of life in eastern Taiwan. The blue of the sea, the green of the mountains, the purple of the dawn, the orange of the sunrise, and the yellow of the ripening rice fields, these colors are too rich to be described in words alone. I aim to carefully preserve the ever-changing and ambiguous beauty of natural scenes through inks and prints. In particular, this series of works challenges the concept of “plurality” in traditional printmaking. I make the previously hidden “woodblocks,” which were once just tools of printmaking, an integral part of the work, creating a “mirrored landscape” in which the woodblocks and prints are juxtaposed. On one side, the landscapes are carved out layer by layer using the reduction printmaking technique, and on the other side, layers of ink are printed on the paper to create the landscapes. The mutual dialogue between the cuts in the wood and the layering of colors showcases the tranquility and beauty of heterogeneity in a mirrored way.
During the past three years of the pandemic, my works have continued to reflect on my childhood memories and current living experiences in eastern Taiwan. It seems that I have found a sense of stability amidst the turmoil, and I hope that through viewing the serene landscapes I created, the viewer will feel as though they are taking a deep breath of fresh air and experiencing healing from the eyes to the mind.