An exhibition of work by Yijia Li
To tell stories that are both personal and universal is Yijia Li’s lifelong pursuit. Her marks on canvas become a document of lives lived.
I love you 3000 is a collection of moments. The materials and techniques utilized in each painting becomes a way to capture the emotional resonance of that experience, at times abstract and in others expressionistic realism. Much like how we remember, some fragments crystal clear and others hazy with feeling that render the story better told in brush strokes and color palettes.
For Li the history of painting is important, a tool to pursue the universal, something that moves “beyond a single person’s experience and could be embodied in everyone’s life in thousands of ways.” Turbulence, sorrow, contentment, they all become marks, building a story that is not yet complete, borrowing from techniques of the past to create something new, yet timeless.
I love you 3000 is a snapshot of her journey so far. And much like anyone nothing is exactly as it seems. The title of this exhibition is a line from Avengers: Endgame an attempt to measure the magnitude of emotion that is felt for another. And Li will continue to pursue her journey to “achieve that common experience”, but perhaps she is already doing just that, a collection of moments enveloped in the power of personal translation, vulnerability laid bare is indeed the beginnings of a universal bond.
Yijia Li is a painter focusing on discovering how people connect with the world around them. She was born and grew up in Shanghai, China, attended Shanghai University and received a B.A. in Studio Art in 2012, and M.F.A. in Visual Studies (painting and drawing) from Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) in 2017. After she moved to Minneapolis in 2015, her paintings have been widely exhibited in the Twin Cities area and New York.
Since 2019 Yijia Li has been a valued member of the SooVAC team, and that is where the Farewell comes in, she is returning to China at the beginning of next year. We are all very sad to lose her but felt it was a fitting goodbye to showcase her stunning art practice. But this is only a goodbye in location, we will stay connected to her, and perhaps some of her experiences at SooVAC will make an appearance in one of her pieces someday.
Virtual Artist Talk:
Please Join Soo VAC on Zoom for a conversation between artist Yijia Li and curator Pujan Gandhi, Thursday January 21st at 7pm CST. ZOOM LINK HERE.
Editors note: This exhibition will show simultaneously with Rachel Breen's The Shapes We Take and Nathanael Flink's Uff De Gastalt.
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