Meet Yu Ji at his exhibit's
Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 5:30 to 8:00 pm
About Yu Ji:
Yu Ji is a studio painter residing in Long Beach, California. A native of China, he grew up during the dark days of Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Yu Ji was fortunate to have his first art lessons in private from several top Chinese artists. At the end of Mao’s era, he entered the Central Academy of Fine Art for his undergraduate study (1977-81), and taught at the Academy’s Senior High School for two years (1981-83).
When he came to the United States, Yu Ji earned his graduate degrees from State University of New York at New Paltz: an MFA in painting (1986) and in printmaking (1989). He was a recipient of the La Napoule Art Foundation scholarships (France 1985 and New Hampshire 1986), and the Charles H. Revson fellowship at the New York Studio School (1986-87).
Yu Ji’s work concentrates on a figurative approach and explores images of contemporary urban life. Individuals and crowds coexist in racially mixed groups within confined space. This metaphor echoes his personal experiences and stimulates his quest for visual eloquence. For his urban studies, Yu Ji has received grants from the Utah Arts Council, Illinois Arts Council and Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation.
Yu Ji has exhibited across the country in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Los Angeles. His portrait of Sir James Mirrless is included in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Scotland. He has also exhibited his work in Beijing, Tianjin and Guangzhou.
In studio teaching, Yu Ji has taught at Southern Utah University and Eastern Illinois University. Currently he holds a professorship in life drawing and painting at California State University, Long Beach.
In pursuing the pictorial eloquence of art, I concentrate on a figurative approach. The themes are taken from direct observation of contemporary urban life, and human figures are depicted in racially mixed groups within a confined picture space. As ideas evolve, the work becomes a visual metaphor, parallel to my experience surviving in today’s cultural environment under the impact of global crosscurrents.
Based on direct observation, compositions are developed with a stress on abstract structures to create a psychological background. Light and shade function to open the picture space, and warm and cool colors create a rhythmic push. Brushwork wrestles with the flat picture surface. My goal in painting is to build a visual dialog on shared experiences through the relationship between the viewer, the artwork, and observed realities.