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Artist Statement by Yuanyuan Xu
Julie Heffernan once visited my studio. Sitting on a chair and looking around at all my works, she asked me if I have kenophobia. Surprised, I said no, but all my paintings do expose a person I have never known. Who is she? And why is she here?
After that encounter, I began writing this statement by thinking about who I really am in our world of chaos and in the world of phantasmagorias that I create in my studio. The real world feels marginal …it baffles me. In the past my response was to cover myself in black and white both in my work and in my thinking. That’s who I was, and that’s where I was. I suffered through depression for years, doubted everything, and disputed everything. I spurned the world thinking that was where hypocrisy and falsity lurked… in every corner. That created who I was, and where I was.
All I thought was to escape from our odious world of deception. I searched for a new land. In my senior project I found that world. One that is formed out of the nebulous shapes and colors, the surfaces, and the different places that the viewer stands to view the work. I would not say I am an artist, but a sensitive creator who gives birth in my work to those intuitive emotions summoned from my anarchic inner-state.
The paintings form a new world, and therefore a new self. A world that is beautiful and frightening, and in a relationship of subversion, that inherits my heart of emotional thinking, and in the mean while transforms it into an opposite me. The natural occurrences of vibrant colors and unexpected consequences of pouring create a harmonious, colorful and balanced space. One where all the lines, colors, patterns reconcile my emotional conflicts and redefine my self-orientation. A wonder and surprise at who I am, and where I am.
I don’t know myself until you tell me who you think I am. Like my process of painting it creates a reaction. I am nothing, but everything.
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Xu, Yuanyuan, "Kenophobia" (2015). Senior Projects Spring 2015. 370.