Renowned philosopher and author Ayn Rand once said that “art refuels consciousness.” Perhaps there’s something in art that draws in a philosopher’s mind and vice-versa. For Bay Area based artist Leyi (Ruby) Yang that train of thought continues to be a driving force. From vibrant canvas paintings to creating immersive artistic performances, Yang is ready to unfold that which lies hidden via her art.
Going with the flow and often gone with the wind seems to be the philosophy that lies delicately under the tectonic plates of Yang’s personality. She didn’t set out to be an artist. She’d set out to be a philosopher. The wind it seems had a mind of its own. “I went to Bard College for my UG in analytical and aesthetic philosophy. Soon, however, I started to feel out of my element. When I felt I was bordering on depression, I decided to turn to art and applied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). I got through, and the broken pieces of my puzzled self-began to reassemble. And in some sense, the miscarriage was becoming a rebirth.” The white canvas proved to be an agent provocateur, and soon Yang was unhinging her insides onto it.
Her canvas paintings speak of unsophisticated maturing. Lines that go nowhere, in particular, create shapes delivered fresh from the land of Yang’s imagination. Talking about her style, Yang says, “Life contains everything – from birth to death – its canvas is infinite. Its colors never completely dry out, and its brushstrokes are pendulating between chaos and order. I attempt to make art that lives at the edge of life where change is roughest, crudest, and most immediate. I want to bring forth the stillness that is the essence of all movement.” Apart from the ephemeral nature of her work and its non-conforming attitude to stale tendencies, her love for vibrant colors makes a spontaneous impact on the viewer. “For me, colors say that which words cannot convey. I guess I must have a lot to say.”
Ruby explained, “I want my viewers to have a visceral reaction and truly feel something through my art. To take some time to reflect on their experiences, that’s my true intent.”
I perceive white cube as a challenging space to put work into. I also consider institutional values and how to challenge them, which certainly makes my works more interesting.
She may have left her pursuit of philosophy midway, but that doesn’t mean the philosopher in her is dead. It’s alive, feverish, and looking for new avenues of expression, avenues that transcend the canvas but never leave it entirely. And for her, the holy ground on which this wedding of philosophies and painting was solemnized turned out to be the rambunctious platform that is performance art. “Art is the magnification of the mundane. It’s in the depth of everyday life, in its microscopic properties, its details, that magic lives. My performance art allows me to snorkel into those depths. And I come out drenched and refreshed.” Whether she plays against herself in a 45-minute long chess game or air-draws the skies of the Bay area for a month, the young artist is keen on seeing life from a continually shifting perspective while holding her sacred ground close to her heart.
Yang has a long way to go. And here’s wishing that her curiosity to risk touching the thorns of life to behold its rose continue to guide her heart and her art.
(Syndicated press content is neither written, edited or endorsed by ED Times)