Delaware Public Media: Arts Playlist: Draper Experiment coming to The Delaware Contemporary

October 12, 2018, by Kelli Steele

Willie Yao's interactive work explores what it means to maintain one's identity while living a life split between China and the United States, art and business, and joy and loss. A native of Shanghai, Yao holds a BA Degree in Landscape Design from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and has contributed paintings and illustrations for magazines and media including Gentlemen's Quarterly, Bazaar, and Modern Weekly. 

The Unionville Times: Mixed Media: An exploration of the self

January 3, 2019, by Caroline Roosevelt

HALF:HALF is an exploration of the self by Yao. The first HALF, which focuses on the internal, is comprised of his graffiti style drawings. He compares earlier, most embellished work, with his new, simpler abstract compositions. The second half of this exhibition focuses on collaborations between the artist and other well-known Chinese artists such as photographer, No. 223, and editor of street fashion magazine, YOHO!, KidK.

A Draper Experiment by Willie Yao

January 4 -  February 24, 2019

Opening Reception: Friday, January 4
5 - 9 PM during Art Loop

The Delaware Contemporary presents HALF : HALF by Willie Yao, the first exhibition of our Draper Experiment series. HALF : HALF debuts ten site-specific paintings, video, and other media installations that explore Yao's discovery of his own identity and lifestyle as an urban citizen. Figurative and deeply individualistic, Yao invites the observer to ask questions about their own dynamic identity, psychology, and life experiences.

American Artist, Glenn Ligon once said, "The 'one' that I am is composed of narratives that overlap, run parallel to, and often contradict one another." This statement on identity from Yourself in the World: Selected Writings and Interviews perfectly explains the exhibition title, HALF : HALF. Having lived in Shanghai, Beijing, and New York City as a Chinese contemporary artist, Yao has in-depth and unique urban experiences. In each city, Yao immerses himself into the local community with eagerness and readiness, even with all the language and so-called cultural "barriers."

To demonstrate his internal "half," the largest artwork in the exhibition, Man-09152017, reveals Willie's internal transformation from his iconic graffiti illustration art style into simple compositions with a more confident aesthetic. In his previous practice, Yao drew lines to form color blocks, leaving specks in the "in-between" spaces to evoke mystery, like stars in the dark night sky. 

To portray his external "half," Yao invited friends, peers, his ex-husband, and strangers to collaborate on the artistic process, completing the narrative of HALF : HALF. The co-creators in this exhibition include, No. 223, one of the most popular photographers in China who focuses on intimate relationships, and KidK, Chief Editor of the Chinese street fashion hype magazine, YOHO!. By including these collaborators, Yao positions his identity to a broader context of lifestyle elements, such as the relationship between pop art and contemporary art and how one thinks and lives as the driving force between consumerism and pop culture. 

A mini-documentary based on the creative process of HALF : HALF showcasing the Yao's challenges and inspirations accompanies this exhibition.

Willie Yao was born in Shanghai and now resides in New York. Yao entered the media and marketing industry where he developed his painting and design skills, serving as the illustrator for GQ, Bazaar, Modern Weekly, and other media outlets in China. In 2013, Willie relocated to New York where he was able to truly define his own artistic vision establishing his distinctive and recognizable graffiti style. His vivid color scheme and line work evoke the compositions of notable contemporary artists Keith Haring, Julian Schnabel, and Jean Michel Basquiat. Yao has had exhibitions and worked in Shanghai, Beijing, and New York. Yao is now working as a Creative-in-Residence at The Delaware Contemporary. The overall scope of work is in the capacity of a visual artist, guest curator, press and media relations agent, and Chinese communication and cultural specialist.

Curated by Wenlu Bao.

E. Avery Draper Gallery

 一半 : 一半

2019年1月4日 - 2月24日

开幕酒会 | 2019年1月4日,周五晚 5点 - 9点,与Art Loop同时

特拉华当代艺术馆此次呈现姚微粒的《一半 : 一半》作为Draper当代艺术实验项目中的第一个展览。此番艺术家带来的十件全新作品,均是首次亮相,包含绘画、视频,和装置等,以此展开姚微粒关于自身身份和都市生活方式的独特解读。其间的各种隐喻和深刻的个人反省,或将引发观赏者向自身的所属身份、处世哲学和生活经验等提出问题。

美国艺术家,Glenn Ligon,曾说过,“这个现在的‘我’,是由许多重叠的、平行的、经常甚至相互矛盾的叙述共同谱写而成的。”这个关于身份的阐述(来自Yourself in the World: Selected Writings and Interviews)完美的展开了本次展览的标题《一半 : 一半》。作为一个中国当代艺术家,姚微粒曾经在上海、北京、纽约等大都会居住,为他的创作带来了深入和独特的都市解读。在每一座城市,微粒都能迅速融入其中,甚至语言和文化壁垒都无法成为阻碍。


 另“一半”来自外部世界,姚微粒邀请了他的朋友、同事、前夫,甚至陌生人们共同参与到他的艺术创作过程中,从而完善了《一半 : 一半》的叙述。共同创作者包含有广受好评的中国摄影师编号223,以及《YOHO!潮流志》主编KidK等等。通过这些共同创作,艺术家将自己的身份置于一个更广阔的生活语境中,进而展开了许多讨论,比如如何看待波普艺术与当代艺术的关联;以及消费主义和流行文化之间的角力等。

 一部微纪录片,延展了《一半 : 一半》的创作过程,将与展览同步公开,记录了姚微粒创作过程中克服的挑战及获得的灵感等。

姚微粒出生于上海。在强势主流⽇报社和热门潮流周刊担任重要编辑职位之后,凭借多年为《周末画报》、《GQ》、《时尚芭莎》等⼀一线杂志书刊撰稿插绘的基础,积极转型成为先锋艺术家。2013年,微粒来到纽约并重新定义了他独有的艺术视角,建立了独特的涂鸦绘画风格为人所熟知。他出挑的配色和线条中蕴含了当代艺术的活力,诸如Keith Haring、Julian Schnabel,以及Jean Michel Basquiat等,都影响了他的艺术风格。他的作品是具象的,富有强烈个人象征意义的。姚微粒在来到美国特拉华展览之前曾在上海、北京、纽约等地举办过群展、个展。姚微粒现在作为特拉华当代艺术馆的Creative-in-Residence,他在这里的工作范畴包含艺术创作、客座策展、部分公关及媒体联络、以及中国文化传播推广。


E. Avery Draper Gallery