About

Mark Yee

contact: markyee2138@gmail.com

"The paintings I make are meant to be looked at for a long time. I encourage viewers to alternate from looking closely to looking from a distance. My paintings have the language of color and composition but they are really a window inside."


"His paintings make you want to touch them. When you look at them up close, you come to realize that there is more there than you first realized."


Yee, a 2nd generation Chinese American, considers himself a modern day version of Richter and Rothko, rolled into one. On canvas, Yee creates paintings with tactile and visual depth.

Introspection and reflection are an important aspect of this work. Instead of exploring a Western type of aesthetic of “presentation”, his paintings, have an element of discovery. The paintings and the artist's intention invite the viewer to look deeper into the paintings but they also serve as a window inside, having the viewer turn their eyes inward.

Yee creates under paintings that he paints over the next day, the next week or after a year of observation and reflection. Remarkably, some of these under paintings have been exhibited in their interim state.

In a departure from Richter, Yee combines acrylic paints with precious elements like gold, gold mica and copper with unusual elements like sawdust, household enamel paint, resins and inks. At times, he applies these materials in a highly intentional manner and at other times he allows the materials to dictate what happens, letting them dry, drip or spread according to their natural properties. Sometimes painting wet on wet or wet on dry, he pays close attention to how the materials interact.

Visually, there is a language of color and composition This visual language oscillates freely between abstraction and his Chinese heritage, his recent works evoking Chinese Terra Cotta War Horses. On another level, the rich texture and interwoven layers simultaneously suggest a biography of the painting itself and put forward an autobiography of the artist.

Constantly reinventing himself, he cycles through some of the most iconic modes of abstraction, investigating Minimalist questions of color and form, tapping into the spontaneous gesture of Abstract Expressionism. Yee relishes creating smooth and glossy textures like a polished rock and formulating dry ancient looking textures sharp enough to cut through his work gloves.

Yee earned his MBA from DePaul University in 1993, took his first art class in 2010 and soon after he had his first gallery show in Chicago in 2011. Just seven years later he had his first solo museum exhibition at the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, which included a panel discussion co-hosted by the University of Illinois.