Dan Jian

Media: Painting

Artist Statement

My work explores an inner world of stored images and reflects on the shifting spaces of landscape, narrative, and memory. As an immigrant, the experiences of location and dis-location profoundly shape how I see the world. Finding myself navigate in between cultures and languages, I am especially aware of my observations, visual comparisons, imaginary narratives, and more often, the space between them. Questions of home and belonging have been recurring themes in my work since I’ve come to the United States, and I often think of painting as the constant in my life that I rely on to create a familiar environment.

In these recent works, I’ve woven together figurative images with non- figurative gesture marks, exploring and creating multiple kinds of space
existing at once. I see how landscape and narrative acquire meaning through personal and collective memory. Through association and recollection, we constantly overwrite the present and the past, and also frame the future. My source material includes my own photographs, popular mass-culture images, and classical art from European and Asian traditions.

I look to traditional Chinese ink painting and the way in which negative space metaphorically becomes a placeless-land. The flattened and sometimes ambiguous space invites an openness in which the painting becomes an uncertain and shifting trajectory rather than a finalized representation. Each painting is an open-ended search and a commingling of specific and general information