Student Yuri Yuan '21 in Several Exhibitions this Spring

BY Brittany Nguyen, March 22, 2021

Make Room Gallery presents the first solo exhibition by Yuri Yuan ’21, Moments of Being, in Los Angeles, CA. The show features paintings made during her first and second years of graduate school at Columbia. 


The exhibition is titled after Virginia Woolf's book Moments of Being. “Her personal memory and space collapse into the occurrence of global pandemic. While the book converges on Woolf's philosophy about the extraordinary sensation one experiences in the state of non-being that occupies one's mundane life, Yuan shares a similar sentiment. The artist oscillates between hyper-awareness of her own presence and the void of not existing in this world. On canvas or panels, these paintings are channels for her to explore the longing and grief of losing a loved one. This sentiment of loss and sorrow allows Yuan to examine not only the fragility of life but also the collective emotion that paintings can elicit,” according to Make Room Gallery. 


Yuan's paintings intertwine dreamscapes, memories, and embodiments of complex emotions. Yet by using the wet-on-wet technique and thin layers of paint in each of these works, she cultivates a sense of soft airiness that both encases and transcends that complexity.


Moments of Being is currently on view online from March 18th through April 10th, 2021.  


In Europe, Yuan is also featured in the group exhibition The Body Language, ITSLIQUID Group’s International Art Exhibition 2021. The ROOM Contemporary Art Space in Venice, Italy is an international exhibition of photography, painting, video art, installation/sculpture and performance art.


Curated by Luca Curci, The Body Language analyzes the hidden parts of our identities, through an immersive experience inside the fascinating universe of the complex labyrinths of our consciousness. Artists are inspired by the magical power of Venetian costumes, exploring the connection between desires, needs, fears through rituals that brings humankind to change, to transform and to evolve their inner world.


The exhibition is currently on view for free entry until March 21, 2021. 


Yuan is also featured in New American Painting Issue #147 as a competition winner. Juried by collector and philanthropist Beth Rudin DeWoody, the printed magazine is available for purchase at the New American Painting website.


Most recently, Yuan was interviewed as part of Some Kind of Opening’s Fourth Issue. The journal is an interdisciplinary journal founded by Columbia School of the Arts MFA students. The interview highlights Yuan’s recent accomplishments and works. 


In a personal statement, Yuan writes, “my paintings provide a space for both myself and the viewer to process the experience of alienation in a strange world. I explore existentialist themes of loneliness, life, and death through painting from memory. Instead of a faithful representation, images are filtered, distorted, and exaggerated, highlighting the psychological and emotional space they occupy. The absurd narratives explore the helplessness and fragility one feels when confronting fate and death. The different senses of self and time in the paintings teleport the viewer into memories of alienation and grief.”


Yuan (b.1996) is a current Visual Arts MFA candidate at Columbia University School of the Arts. She was born in China, grew up in Singapore, and gained a BFA with Distinction from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2019. Yuan’s works have been shown at The ROOM Contemporary Art in Venice, Italy; ArtForum International; Sullivan Galleries, Chicago and Siragusa Gallery at SAIC, Chicago. Yuan was awarded many distinguished awards: Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Institutional Scholarship, Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, and SAIC Travel Scholarship.


Her work is also on view in the upcoming Class of the 2021 First Year Exhibition at The Wallach Art Gallery, open to Columbia Affilifates, March 27th to April 10th, 2021. 

"Starfall" by Student Yuri Yuan