When beauty in art is its most obvious feature, it might be easy to dismiss it as entirely superficial, but that’s not a foregone consequence. Beauty can be self validating, but it can also still challenge. The resonance of color, complexity of texture, and the virtues of subject can elevate a work above mere cosmetics. Such is the case of the evocative paintings of Yang Yang Pan.
Pan’s chromatic confections, splotchy blurs of rich color and texture, are both lovely and compelling, unapologetically pretty and surprisingly deep. Dabby multi-colored strokes, smears, and patches cover her canvases in jubilant bursts of neon, or otherwise more brooding collisions of shadow and vivid spectrum.
I’m always intrigued when an artist discovers innovative ways to make random patchy color feel new and unique. Similarly amazing is the capacity of such an approach to encapsulate so vividly, the vision of the individual painter. Within her chaotic abstracts, Yang Yang Pan finds a unique voice.
Pretty, feels like a condescending way to describe an artist’s work, Lovely is a more elegant choice, but either pays an ideal compliment to the genuine virtue of Pan’s aesthetics. Her paintings tend to be visually pleasing in a way that I genuinely appreciate. As someone who values the innate power of beauty in art, I’m always refreshed by works that delight its audience with this simple pleasure.
Often quite feminine, even girlish, her works have an airy beauty that’s quite pronounced in some, less in others. This isn’t to say she doesn’t exhibit range however. Pan frequently mingles a variety of techniques to varying effect. Sometimes a confetti of color, other times silky smudges, or melting streaks, in some cases course topographies of texture.
Her inspiration too, though frequently up close and floral, feels in other cases distant and landscape. Her palette, though lighthearted across most of her work, often takes root in richer earth tones, or contemplates deep dark shades.
Not unlike the work of Georgina Vinsun, Pan’s abstract colorscapes hint at real world inspiration. Bright flowers and shrubbery seem to bristle just below the ephemeral plane of her canvas. Verdant shores linger beyond focus, the mirage of landscapes shimmering at the blurry edges of a dream.
This is part of the fun of her paintings; the intrigue of her inspiration. I always find myself pondering the subject alluded to in the colorful haze. Her works seem transient, as though capturing a metamorphosis between abstract and material. Unfocused subject emerging into view, or otherwise dissipating into a particulate frenzy. Her works are alive with the manic energy of this process.
I’m surprised at how often the delightful colors of her paintings remind me of a battlefield. The intensity and dispersal of bright splotches imparts energy and movement, at times frenetic and forceful.
It’s the dynamic nature of her work that I love; the, at times, almost violent cohesion of pastoral beauty, movement, and emotional vibrance. Her paintings satisfy the desire for the aesthetic but offer an intriguing subtext. They speak to the eye but edify the mind. They are at once close and distant, apparent and evasive.