Xiaojing Yan: A Wanderer’s Mind

July 16 – September 15, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 27, 1pm


A Wanderer’s Mind brings together four recent bodies of work by Chinese-Canadian artist Xiaojing Yan. In her work, Yan explores ‘being’ Chinese or ‘being’ Canadian, the ambiguous nature of her identity and the immigrant experience. Her poetic drawings, sculptures and installations explore her identity and its intersections between beauty, domesticity, life-cycles, culture, nature, and history.

In Face to Face (2011) the viewer encounters an installation of twenty-four double portraits of Chinese women finely hand painted onto small disks of translucent silk. Suspended from the ceiling, the portraits depict each woman first as she was in China, and again once she had immigrated to Canada. The installation invites viewers to consider and empathize with the immigrant experience.

Marking (2016) is a pair of cast bronze wall sculptures that careful composes ephemeral, commonplace domestic objects into dynamic shapes. By capturing in solid form the fleeting aspects of everyday life, Yan gives permanence to the everyday.

The nature of impermanence–and continuous renewal–is represented in the wall-mounted installation Morning Glory (2016-2018). This species of plant, known for its distinctive trumpet-shaped flower that blooms at the morning light and dies by the end of each day, presents a life cycle in miniature. It’s a subject common throughout Chinese painting that Yan interprets in paper and reed, materials traditionally used in lantern making.

The final works in the exhibition are from Yan’s ongoing series of ink paintings, Naturally Natural (2016). Here, she first prepares water-resistant Yupo paper with an acrylic medium, allowing drops of Chinese ink to bloom into evocative, hyper-delicate root-like patterns on its own. Within Yan’s work, the viewer experiences the essence of traditional Chinese landscape painting and is inclined to ‘read’ the abstracts as landscapes.

– Andrea Carson Barker (text adapted from exhibition essay)

Click here to read the full exhibition essay by Andrea Carson Barker.


Xiaojing Yan is a Chinese-Canadian artist based in Markham, Ontario. She received her MFA in Sculpture from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA and BFA from Nanjing Arts Institution, China. As an artist migrating from China to North America, both her identity and her work pass through the complex filters of different countries, languages, and cultural expectations. In an effort to shape herself, she takes traditional Chinese materials and techniques and reinvents them within a contemporary aesthetic and presentation. Yan’s sculptures have been exhibited in galleries and museums in China, Canada and the United States. Yan is the recipient of numerous grants including most recently the Chalmers Arts Fellowship from Ontario Arts Council and Project Grant to Visual Artists from Canada Council for the Arts.

On View


July 16, 2019


September 15, 2019


Artist: Xiaojing


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