They call out to me, sometimes for a brief conversation, and other times for a lengthy one. I listen to them. The only way I know how to respond to them truthfully is to paint them, unembellished.
Since March of 2020, I developed a new dialogue began between myself and the objects surrounding me. This process resulted in a series of paintings that create a ubiquitous but often overlooked emotion. The objects depicted can exhibit just as much, if not more, emotion than what human beings are able to exert themselves. Those small daily nuances, which are known to every one of us, often tend to be quite inconspicuous and underappreciated. However, the simplicity of these objects, allow for them to liberated from the harsher judgments of daily life.
The process of human development has led to a habit of using objects to convey not only one’s perspective. These same objects also support the formation of identity. The development of humankind has given rise to many new and different objects. Allowing expression to become more plentiful, varied, and personalized. Since these objects are in a constant flux, so are their application, interpretations, and the emotions we associate with them.
Amid an unconscious moment, a secret had been revealed to me, a feeling of energetic peacefulness overcame me, a sensation that felt especially addictive. This is how I feel while creating this series of paintings. I experience thoughts of wonder, a feeling of mysteriousness, excitement, fear, perplexity, clarity, desire, and fulfillment. When each piece is finished, it has gone through series of emotions. A sense of curiosity as to what emotions were endured throughout this process continues to attract me and the people who view my work.
Shuyang Zhou is fascinated by the mystery, surprise of the unpredictability of simple things that surround her. She is a multi-talented artist who works in a variety of mediums, including painting, printmaking, drawing, ceramics, and digital arts. Her primary focus is on painting. Shuyang began oil painting as a child, and she had been attending art schools since middle school and had learned the exquisite technology of painting. When creating her works, she relies principally on the intuitive processes of memory and observation. In her sixteen years of artistic painting practice, Shuyang uses her unique way of observing and communicating with objects, portrayed in a finely detailed painting, to achieve a wealth of emotion and subtlety. The objects depicted can exhibit just as much, if not more, emotion than what human beings are able to exert themselves.
Shuyang was born in Beijing in 1995, and is currently based in New York City, where she is attending Brooklyn College working towards an MFA in Fine/Studio Arts, which she expects to complete in 2022. She obtained a BFA in painting and printmaking from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2019, where she received a SCAD Achievement and Academic Honors Scholarship. She has participated in group exhibitions in Savannah, Atlanta, New York City, in addition to a solo show in Savannah.
What initially compelled you to create your work?
It's a passion for painting. I've painted since I was nine years old out of love. Along the way, there has never been any faltering, and it is still going strong now.
What main topic does your artwork address and why?
I find the enigma, unpredictable nature, and unexpectedness of the seemingly ordinary things around me to be fascinating. I have no clear theme of any type because these are all completely random. I enjoy the instability because it makes each item interesting and challenging for me. I don't want to place restrictions on myself.
In your artistic journey, what has been the most challenging point thus far?
The most challenging part is discovering yourself, getting to know yourself, and being yourself. And being yourself is the most valuable thing in life. I'm looking forward to seeing how my work evolves and finds its own voice. It is crucial to me that I will never stop observing and pondering on the world.
Is there an aspect of your life that especially impacts your practice?
I strongly suspect that numerous factors will have an impact on my practice. It may be anything as simple as my seeing a leaf, a shadow, reading a book, or hearing a tale. It may be as significant as a change in surroundings, such as a job, travel, making some new acquaintances, etc. Each of them directly affects how I interpret and perceive the painting and how I will approach the development of my subsequent pieces.
What do you do when you find yourself at a creative block?
I would take a hot bath, go out for a walk/hike, or sleep. Many problems are solved when you do the maximum relaxation possible. Additionally, watching movies, listening to podcasts, and reading books are all highly beneficial.