Thoughts behind ‘Two Worlds One Mind’ by Norm Yip & Alexis Reynaud

The opportunity to exhibit artwork in Zurich once again was a delight to see and experience. In a joint effort between myself and fellow artist Alexis Reynaud, we both brought visual variety to Gallery Box, a new gallery space in Zurich that opened last year by Thomas Sarbach, a painter and artist as well. It was Thomas, the one who made the introduction of Alexis to me and suggested that we group together for this show. Initially, I had concerns that my work alone was not enough to do a show successfully at his gallery, given the large space of the venue.

The original idea was to have an exhibition of my Pulsation painting only and some of my more intellectually stimulating graphite drawings to accompany the show. I would leave my Asian male photography out of the show. As things transpired over the months, Thomas was keen to see my Asian male images included as part of the exhibition, seeing as how Alexis was keen to show some of his nude photography work too. Thus, in the last weeks prior to the opening, there was a rush to get photographs printed and framed.

Alexis Reynaud included male and female nudes painted in black and covered with a high gloss finish/sheen, resulting in a high contrast black to white erotic images. Shot using sharp lighting (most likely a strobe), it was a foil to my images, where softness and slightly blurred images appear. The feelings from each of our works are similar, but one thing remained clear: the desire to create beauty using the human body as the vehicle for expression.

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Norm Yip, Barry, 2016, Pigment ink on paper, 50 x 75 cm. 

As for our paintings, my work is abstract, taking influence from Jackson Pollock’s action paintings, but at a much smaller scale and with a more stylised control of brushwork. Alexis however took the Samurai as his subject matter, creating a highly energised set of paintings using only a selective colour palette of red, blue, yellow, and the neutral colours of black and white for his works. Sweeping expansive strokes compared to my smaller controlled ones. The common thread to our work was clear: the desire for self-expression through the use of the brush, and not so much about attempting to create something real. Yes, Alexis’s work is more figurative, but to me, the essence is in the expressive brushworks, and if viewed more closely, abstraction.

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Alexis Reynaud, Musashi 00017, 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 61 x 46 cm.
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Norm Yip, Pulsation, No. 2, 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 210 x 140 cm.

What is fascinating for me is the desire for both myself and Alexis to take on the medium of painting and photography as a modes of expression, to which Thomas, the curator, found intriguing. The title Two Worlds One Mind is entirely appropriate. Speaking for myself, I took to painting as far back as 1999, when my first studio collaboration/partnership began with Meli-Melo Artist Alliance. Painting spoke to me in ways that was different than photography. It was in fact more tactile and real than photography. With painting, there was a purposeful engagement with the brush, canvas, the mixing of colours, and the application of medium to surface, a process that is entirely unique and special.

Just before the Pulsation series began, I had reached a mini plateau, and I was ready to move my work in a different direction. And then it happened: the Orlando shooting where over 50 people were shot dead in a gay bar. That incident brought forth feelings, which I then translated into the artwork.

The exhibition for me is important, as it is the first time for me showing my paintings abroad/overseas. I owe a huge THANK YOU to all that came to the exhibition opening, and of course to Thomas Sarbach and Alexis for their support and generosity during my time there.

By appointment only:
Tel +41(0)763446060
Mail: gallerybox@gmx.ch
http://www.gallery-box.net/

Inner workings of a painter: described

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The journey of this painting took nearly a month of indecision and searching. As a result, I destroyed one painting in the process after 3 white washes of one canvas; thereby starting over completely. One friend to whom I mentioned this to said that was very courageous. I thought so too, but only because I felt no guilt or anger from the fresh start. Process. No feelings of discontent or anger. Just let it be. The new canvas proved to be the right thing to do. I could feel the surface of the canvas again; and how it would inform me of it’s need to be felt.

So what went on in my mind as I was painting this piece, which didn’t have a title prior to the completed art? I was trying to force it into being similar to the first two paintings in the series of Ode to New York. I wanted it to be the same vein at them so there would be a coherence of bold dark thick lines and form with richness in contrast and colours, meanwhile being balanced throughout with areas of confusion pitted against clarity and sharpness. I wanted it to look like the first piece in the series, but it simply would not happen. I felt at times that I had been a failure during this process. How could I not do it again? This gave me the feeling that I should never do a commission.

Midway through the second canvas, I came to a stage of the painting where I thought: yes, this is coming along. I put that thought on hold and continued to paint the surface with a secondary thought: the new work has to have its own identity. It is desperately wanting it’s own character, it’s own voice. The message is different. With that, I took the brush and once again, make marks. I pulled back from the painting and to my dismay, it looked like shit! What the fuck? I took the painting quietly and placed it in the storage area. I didn’t want to look at it again.

The next night as I lied on the sofa, the voice inside said: push it further! I didn’t like the word ‘push’. I corrected the voice with my own and said ‘I’ll work on it more’. With that, I pulled the painting out from the storage area and lied it flat on my painting table. I turned down the lights in the studio to darken the space, while I had a light on in the adjacent room. With that, I started to paint. Something magical happened and I could feel the energy moving through me, transporting the marks onto the canvas. I knew it was coming. Layers of colours went on with a new feeling coming to the canvas. I pulled the painting off from the table and place it on the wall. I felt another colour wanting to make its mark and again, pulled the painting down and laid down the several more marks. Suddenly, there it was.  It was right; it was perfect.

For it’s title, I knew it was a self portrait of me in an abstracted form of disjointed feverish brushstrokes with underlying layers of complexity, but it is an untitled piece; this could be anyone, it could be you, the viewer.

I hope you enjoy the artwork, as much as my journey into self discovery.

My fine art website: http://normyip.com

Pulsation Interview by Jefferson Mendoza

I was fortunate enough to have Jefferson Mendoza interview me recently for my Pulsation exhibition at Tree of Life art space, an exhibition in which the artwork was influenced by the mass shooting in Orlando, where 49 lives were taken and the repercussions that took place following the event.

NORM YIP Pulsation Exhibition Catalogue:
https://issuu.com/normyip/docs/norm_yip_-_pulsation_exhibition
Facebook: http://facebook.com/normyip
http://normyip.com

Video Interview Credit:
Jefferson Mendoza
Twitter: @myjeffersonian
IG: @myjeffersonian
Facebook: http://facebook.com/myjeffersonian

Pencil drawing: Levitation, No. 2

A quick zoom in and out of pencil drawing “Levitation, No. 2”. Completed while listening to music by Marc Poppcke – Breakable (Namatjira Remix) https://youtu.be/mihEZUgtN84.

If you look closely, you’ll get a slight 3D effect, although it is all 2D on Acumen card paper stock.

In the event that you might be interested in this particular artwork, yes it is available. Just contact me through my website shown below.

To see my artwork: http://normyip.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/normyip
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/normyip/

 

The Making of Pulsation, No. 8

High speed video clip of me creating Pulsation, No. 8, a painting akin to the work of the Abstract Expressionists and perhaps some of the ideology that were suggested by the Surrealists Automatism. Throughout the creative process, there is a balance between perceived chaos and definitive control. My colour selection is thought out and nearly calculative, yet the application of paint to canvas is somewhat arbitrary and gestural. This gestural movement is learned, but from the point of letting go, versus detailed formalism.

Credit is owned to the background music, of which I have borrowed from a podcast which inspires me to do the work that I do. Playing is Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy, No. 157.

To see more of my paintings: http://normyip.com
Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/normyip
Instagram ID: normyip
I welcome enquiries on the work that I do.
Namaste.

Pulsation Exhibition by Norm Yip

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TREE OF LIFE presents: 

PULSATION by Norm Yip | 葉灃

Recent Paintings & Drawings
Opening on 12 August 2016, 7-10pm
Live Demonstration* at 8pm
Exhibition continues until 31 August 2016
Venue:

Tree of Life, 36 Eastern Street,
Sai Yin Pun, Hong Kong

Open daily 10am – 8pm
T. +852 9220 0803

Information:
nwy@normyip.com
T. +852 68388948

PULSATION is the beat of the heart; pulsation is the beat of the city; pulsation is the beat of the Earth; pulsation is the beat of the universe. It is the dance of negative and positive energy in synch with each other. Ever since Norm Yip decided to pursue his interest in art and creativity, his investigations in art and consciousness has brought him closer to the work of the Abstract Expressionists. Pulsation is part of the ongoing evolution of Norm’s art: organic, yet mediating between control and freedom in the traditional form of painting and drawing.

 

*Norm will demonstrate how he creates one of his vibrant ‘Pulsation’ paintings, a task he says, is both challenging and easy at the same time. “Life is a journey, not a destination.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tree of Life: http://treeoflifehk.com/
Norm Yip: http://normyip.com/

Abstract artwork influenced by the Orlando shooting.

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Pulsation, No. 1, 2016, Acrylic on Canvas, 210 x 140cm. 
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Pulsation, No. 2, 2016, Acrylic on Canvas, 210 x 140cm. 

Two weeks ago, on the morning of June 12, 2016, I heard the news of the mass shooting in Orlando. Events were just starting to unfold as the late night began in the US; many questions were still unanswered as to what exactly was happening. That evening, I was having drinks with writer Marshall Moore at local gay bar Zoo here in Hong Kong, when it was reported that 50 people were shot dead. Looking at Marshall, I could tell he was devastated by the news. We asked for another round of drinks.

As the days moved onwards, I was checking the news and following the events on the victims and the murderer, as well as the horrific reactions by religious fundamentalists with their narrow-minded views on homosexuality. Shocking, frightening, and disturbing.

In my studio, both glued to the news and videos, I actually froze from painting for the first while as I was trying to process what I should do. Should I paint something political? How do I even approach the painting? I wondered if I should create something more political, but eventually felt that was purely reactionary and decided to take the energy and channel it into the artwork. It was hard to process this as I approached the canvas. My hands were trembling as I was painting the first layers of paints, a combination of deep blues and dark reds. The lighter version was completed first; while the darker version came later.

Freewill and the creative process

Wanted to do some smaller pieces as exercises. A few quick abstract sketches created using graphite and woodless charcoal pencils while listening to selected ambient music. Actually, beginning the pieces are hard because I feel as though I have to exert control over the paper. Once that hurdle is accomplished, then it’s letting the artwork take its own course and trying not to impose my own ‘will’ into the piece.

Scientists have discovered that it 7 seconds before we decide on a decision on what to do, brain activity is already making choices! Strange but true. So, the question is whether or not I ‘created’ the artwork, if the decisions to the actions were already happening before I laid graphite to paper. It’s the classic case of whether free will truly exists. Okay maybe a bit too conceptual, but that’s what intrigues me.

The Asian Male Project (1999 – 2016) : End of an Era


To the many followers of my work in photographing the The Asian Male, I have come the decision that 2016 will mark the year that the project comes to an end. 
What started out as an exercise to emulate the photography of Herb Ritts has taken me into a journey of exploration and discovery of my photographic abilities as a photographer in capturing the human body, in a subject matter that was for the most part, unexplored.

During the past year, many of you may well know that my interest has shifted and my passion towards photographing the Asian male subject subsiding, seeking only to shoot a few selected models that would come across my path. With recent events both on a personal and business level, I realised that The Asian Male series was indeed coming to a close, and it was only a matter of time that I announce to my fans and admirers the end has arrived. 
Thank you to all the models that I have been privileged to photograph, especially in the formative years, when Asian men were not seen as an object of beauty, as it is today. And thank you to the many fans that have been following my work throughout the 18 years. 
No doubt there may be opportunities for showcasing the collection of images in the future, but that has yet to become an actuality. In the meantime, the images will remain in my Archives. 

Sincerely,

Norm Yip