Into Empty Space
by Yeachin Tsai, Troy, NY
Growing up in Taiwan, I was deeply influenced by traditional Chinese brush painting and calligraphy. I began to experiment with materials that partly characterize modern Western painting after I moved to New York City. I now utilize mostly rice paper and silk fabric. The absorbent and textural qualities of these materials differ from those of canvas. When further into the process, I mount the work on substrates more common to Western painting.
My artwork includes painting and calligraphy. When executing the brush strokes and marks, I am particularly mindful and aware of the spaces in between. The empty space becomes a crucial component of the painting itself.The painting subjects and styles I choose are abstract because I have always been intrigued by pattern and colors. My interest may have started when I was four years old. I remember seeing the floating, shining dust particles reflecting the sunlight in the stale attic air of my family’s old house. The magic quality of nowness left an unspeakable feeling in my mind.
Chinese is mainly a pictorial language. As an artist with deep training in Chinese calligraphy, painting, and literature, the sounds, forms, and layouts of Chinese symbols have always amazed me. Each symbol has a vibrant life. The classical Chinese expression that “calligraphy and painting are from the same origin,” indicates that there is an intimate relationship between these two expressive forms. For example, the Chinese character “heart” is literally a drawing of the shape of heart. “Sun” and “moon” are depicted as they appear in nature. “Water” and “fire” were shaped to express their respective qualities. The beautiful art form is alive with the space and energy of the brushstrokes, imbued with the spirit of the writer.
I use the materials to reflect the feelings and perceptions I have experienced in life. The impressions that come through relating to nature, people, and the essence of being – the ever changing, flowing energy in the world of the fleeting moments. This is nowness.
For more of Yeachin’s work, please see: www.yeachin.net