Culturally and historically, the Daoist perception of landscape has been the most influential theme in traditional Chinese art; it is not merely an abstract concept that describes the beauty of the visible world. Rather, it is a means of expressing Daoist core values of harmony between man and nature, and the individual artist’s inner reflections on life and culture. During the past twenty years, China has experienced dramatic changes in almost every aspect of social life as a result of rapid economic development. Yuanliang Sun’s traditional Chinese background coupled with his life in the United States, where he watches and re-learns China's ongoing cultural changes, remain major sources of inspiration throughout this body of work.
Landscape Restructured explores the cultural transformation of modern-day China and the hidden side of globalization, with an emphasis on the country's air pollution problems. During his residencies at the Beijing Institute of Technology and Tianjin Western Art Museum in China, Yuanliang Sun visited nearby cities considered to be among China’s most polluted. Shocked by scenes of massive coal mining areas, power plants, steel factories, and smoggy cities, these blurry landscapes of China were quite different from the artist’s personal memories of his country. Through visual interpretation of personal narratives and experiences, Sun’s work seeks to foster a greater awareness of environmental crisis and cultural changes in industrial China. Landscape Restructuredalso expresses a critical vision regarding the effects of modern consumerism and globalization, including how these phenomena are changing the way Chinese people live.
Methodologically, Sun engages in a multidisciplinary approach involving photography, paper engineering, motion graphics, and digital interaction design, granting focus to how modern technology and design methods help promote his conceptual ideas.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Yuanliang Sun is an associate professor of art at Western Michigan University's Gwen Frostic School of Art. Leon joined the faculty in 2009. Originally from China, Leon’s work has been deeply rooted in his personal living experience and observations in both Western and Eastern cultures. His main research areas are the hand-crafted experimentation in design methodologies, the exploration of dimensional and spatial design elements, and the use of digital technology as a creative tool and medium for visual communication.
His research projects have been presented and exhibited both nationally and internationally including presentations at AIGA Design Education and the Transnational Terrain Conference in Honolulu, HI, the 4th International Conference on Design Principles and Practices in Chicago, IL, the Tao International Conference on Sustainable Design Strategies in a Globalization Context in Beijing, China, and exhibitions at the12th Annual International Digital Media and Arts Association Conference in Orem, UT, Atlanta University Center in Atlanta, GA, Duke University's Power Plant Gallery in Durham, NC, and Fort Worth Community Arts Center in Fort Worth, TX.
Leon earned his BFA and MFA degrees at Eastern Michigan University and Michigan State University respectively. He has previously taught at Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Beijing Institute of Technology.
Frostic School of Art Students and Friends of the Richmond Center Members Preview and Opening Reception, Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 5 - 7pm. MyWMU.com/FriendsofRCVA