Yuan Jai has a long and deep connection with the Chinese classical tradition of Blue-and-green landscape painting, yet through her intuitive, playful reinterpretaions of that tradition, she creates uniquely fresh and surprising visions of an alternative 'natural' world. Yuan Also draws inspiration from folk traditions, in particular Chinese paper-cuts, using their formal elements as a foundation for a creative restucturing in a range of presentations, from collage to painting. In the world of Yuan's art, there is no distinction betweendream and reality; in her vibrant, vividly coloured ink-and- brush paintings we see animals, fairies, and myriad fantastical flowers integrated into a weightless, timeless land of marvels. Yet an important element of Yuan’s stylistic approach is the way she employs the accouterments of realism to conjure the world of her own imagination, an approach that reveals both her conceptual process and her ambition to break new ground in the realm of figurative painting.
Yuan Jai’s ink-and-brush paintings have a beauty all their own, both ornate and refined. She wanders at will through the territory of classical elegance, and weaves her phantasmagorical imagery from threads plucked from the visual history of the ancient and the modern, the Chinese and the Western. Her works are poetic compositions on the theme of the increasingly distant culture of ink painting, revealing a uniquely feminine delicacy and sensibility even as they conjure forth powerfully evocative, fantastical worlds. (Yuan Jai – Year of Abundance
, Hanart TZ Gallery)
袁旃早與古畫裡的青山綠水靈犀相通，以心造境，四季常新。 她大量取材中國民間剪紙、 摺紙的圖案畫造型，透過個人的創意想像力作秩序性的結構組合，拼貼成畫。畫是她思想馳騁的疆域，現實與夢想無分際，一切的遐思幻想，如夢又如真。在她想像的造境上，經常可見不同的動物、神仙和花卉，築出一個飄動美妙，無重量、無時間感的世界。她以寫實風格營造想像空間，也流露出她常新的創作心境以及在人物畫上開拓新境的雄心。
In Chinese modern art, the study of colour theory has developed completely under the influence of Western art. Yet the aesthetic sensibility of most Chinese oil painters still tends towards the monochromatic scale, and there is only a weak manifestation of a three-dimensional colour sense. Yuan Jai’s unique approach to colour theory has been moulded by diverse influences from China’s artistic tradition. She spent more than 30 years working at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, where she immersed herself in the study of the decorative arts, and was most inspired by the Tang-period aesthetic of richly ornamented surfaces decorated in mineral pigments. In her paintings, this colour aesthetic became translated into images of polychromatic exoticism. Although the phantasmagoric strangeness of Yuan Jai’s recent works evokes associations with Western surrealism, it is in fact in the Tang dynasty that she most finds inspiration for her dream-like imagery. (Hanart 100)
Press release courtesy Hanart TZ Gallery.