About Painting

Text by Amber Berson

Jinny Yu’s paintings regularly construct and deconstruct her self-identity as a ‘global nomad’. Having migrated more than once, Yu’s practice is equally informed by her sense of detachment from any one particular place, her outsider perspective and her desire to make a home for herself. In order to find herself and to mark space as her own, Yu’s art has become a form of home building and her subject matter an investigation of the cleaving between movement and stillness.

Where past work has made specific references to architectural vernacular – painting in the language of apartment blocks and cityscapes through the use of grids and creating site specific work that both relate painting to its domestic setting and reflect the history of painting as one of interior spaces and the decorative arts – other works investigate patterns in an effort to explore the limits of painting and the historical relationships between space and art. These previous works push the limits of abstraction to create dialogue between the artist and painter on the subject of personal space. However, Yu’s current works are more deliberate considerations of the artist within space than previous projects. These new works break the barrier between home and away. While they can be seen as delicate in their subject matter, the materials reveal the characteristic rootedness of Yu’s practice.

Yu’s interest in the space between permanence and the temporal is balanced by an ability to strive in such settings. While some might view the constant movement of a nomadic lifestyle unsettling or uncomfortable, the paintings present an alternative that is at once calming and fascinating. The spaces Yu paints are visions of abstracted places that perhaps she herself once inhabited. They come across as snatches of memories caught in the liminal space between the past and the present. While the imagery is transient, the material in which Yu works – oil and aluminum – imparts an air of permanence to the subject matter. In their own way, the paintings act as a form of home building, a way of making a place for herself as an artist in the world and claiming that space for herself.

Permanence and transience, present and past, movement and stillness are all constants in Yu’s practice. These painting are neither here nor there but rather firmly embrace the in-between. Refusing to choose between a nomadic existence and a permanent sense of home, Yu has built a home in painting that is impossible to ignore.