"In my work, I am searching for a visual language that combines representation and abstract elements to address my own hybrid identity, as well as the subjective and the emotional experience of living in a socially and ethnically diverse modern culture.
The process of making a painting, for me, is driven by intuition and imagination. In my work, abstracted forms come to me as imaginative figures. I use abstraction as a means to depict things, to compose images, to balance conflicts, and to create narratives.
The experience of being an immigrant to Canada provides me with crucial inspiration in my practice. I grew up in China; however, I trained as a contemporary artist in the West. This dual cultural background not only provides me with a broader ability to see diverse energies in society but also challenges me to integrate different cultural perspectives. The contradictions inherent in forming a new hybrid identity have entered my work and continue to create tension within it.
I want to create a world with a hybrid vision. I process cultural symbols and materials through my imagination and reconstruct them in a semi-abstract way to create a hybridized landscape. I introduce bodily elements into my work. I deal with the figure in an abstract way that describes both internal and external conflicts of the body. Those patterns, symbols, and gestures in my work usually derive from my experience, subconscious, and imagination. I also embrace the modernist idea to approach the work by engaging in the process of making it. I'm looking for inner structures, rhythms, and tensions between the interaction, interruption, and overlap of different elements to achieve a certain degree of complexity and diversity in colors, compositions, narratives as well as surface qualities. The artwork itself functions as a vehicle to carry the artist’s moment of emotion, memory, and energy. The result of my work is a hybrid and often visually complicated. By creating a purposefully disorienting and puzzling space filled with contradiction, my paintings are in a broader sense a metaphor for the physical and psychological experience of living in this pluralistic contemporary culture." - WEI LI