Jiaao Yu, born in Changchun, China, is an emerging artist currently based in Southern California. Working in painting, sculpture, and installation, her body of work focuses on strong emotions, social issues, and psychological landscapes. Her most recent installation “Don’t Touch” represents the emotional states of childhood sexual abuse victims, gives voice to the silent group, and stands up against such violence in society. In Yu’s current SelfWork series she is conveying the anguish and desolation we often feel with both our bodies and psyches. Oftentimes, she considers her practice as a bodily performance and a mindful rollercoaster; the visceral response she feels while she works is key to accurately translating her narrative onto the canvas. Yu is currently completing her BA in Visual Art at the University of California, San Diego with Honors in painting.
SelfWork is a series of contemporary oil paintings depicting bodies in distress within a surreal or abstract psychological landscape. In this current series, I am conveying the anguish and desolation we often feel with both our bodies and psyches. For instance, the first painting Unravel reveals a chronic agitation I undergo every moment. I make use of unbridled, gestural brushstrokes to reveal my creative process and to accentuate my exploration of deep emotional states. Oftentimes, I consider my practice as a bodily performance and a mindful rollercoaster; the visceral response I feel while I work is key to accurately translating my narrative onto the canvas. My life-size paintings confront the viewer of their own vulnerability. I believe this awareness and openness in an individual is the first step in building empathy between people and shifting our frames of mind as a community. The objective of this project is to bring people together and form a safe haven to work through trauma, talk about difficult subjects, and find peace in the universal struggles we experience as a collective whole.
Agony (SelfWork Series), 2022
Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48 inch