Yuan Zhan was born in Chongqing in 1941. She is a graduate of National Taiwan Normal University Fine Arts Department graduating in Chinese painting in 1962. At university she received training from notable artists Huang Jun-bi, Chin-bo Chin, Wu Yong-hsiang and Sun Chia Chin, gaining a solid footing in the subject. Yuan went abroad to Belgium and the US after graduating where she obtained degrees in archaeology, art history and antique preservation. After returning to Taiwan, she became a researcher at the National Palace Museum until her retirement in 2001.
Yuan actually only started painting seriously at the end of the 1980s, 30 years after graduating from art school. She held her first solo exhibition in 1993. Yuan did however practice calligraphy during the time she worked at the National Palace Museum, which allowed her to keep up her brush and line work.
She also came into contact with the finest examples of traditional art through her work, which was to inspire her later work. Yuan’s art has advanced in stages and she still has plenty of creative ambition even in her 70s.
When it comes to her artistic pursuits, Yuan Zhan said, “I hope to create as many paths in modern times for traditional painting as possible. I seek to be different and introduce such different elements to my works. I try to find variations in tradition and continue to weed through the old to bring forth the new.” It is obvious that the artist incorporates the stylized shapes of objects in Ukiyo-e, a kind of Japanese painting, into Genesis. For example, the rocks are painted with soft brushstrokes that echo the flowy lines of waves around them.
Yuan Zhan as a fifty year old embarking on a painting career wanted to escape the fetters of her traditional art education. She developed an individual and modern style that is also inspired by different traditional styles of art. The decorative structure and use of color of her art is a break with traditional ink and wash. Her reinterpretation of traditional painting using a contemporary vocabulary shows a deliberate pursuit of the new and different. Although Yuan's ink and wash style is inspired by classic works, she has purposefully sought to update traditional style and technique. In particular, she employs a more contemporary and free use of color. By continually experimenting Yuan Zhan has put a contemporary face on traditional ink and wash.
|Medium / Classification：||Eastern Gouache|
|Collection Unit：||Collection of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1941-1950|