The distance from China to Ohio’s Muskingum University is great, but that is the path traveled by internationally acclaimed artists, Yan Sun and Hong Yin, whose work will be exhibited in the Studio gallery of Artworks Around Town and introduced to the public at the Gallery Hop Friday, September 7th from 5:00 to 8:00PM.
Yan Sun grew up in an intellectual household in China at the time of the “Cultural Revolution”, and was sent at the age of 14 to the countryside, first to work on a farm, and then, for the next 7 years, to work in the coal mines. One of the custodians in the mine was the former Art Editor of a Chinese publishing house. Yan Sun wanted this gentleman to give him art lessons, which he was finally, after much coaxing, persuaded to do. So his first art education came at the end of long, arduous days digging coal. Some of his earliest paintings are representations of these years.
With the return of the universities in China, Yan Sun continued his education in a more formalized setting, earning degrees, first at Northwest Normal University in Lanzhou and then at the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts. His M.F.A. in painting and drawing was awarded by Texas A&M University.
Presently Professor of Art and Gallery Director at Muskingum University, Yan Sun has received numerous honors for his work and his devotion to the community including the William Oxley Thompson award for excellence in teaching and the William Rainey Harper award for outstanding scholarship. The Zanesville Museum of Art named its “Diverse Cultures” Gallery after him, and Cambridge Mayor, Tom Orr presented the “Key to the City” to him for his time and his artistic efforts on behalf of the city’s residents, civic groups and other organizations.
If a single word could sum up his work, it might be “eclectic”. Employing a wide variety of media, techniques, and subject matter, it is difficult to believe upon viewing that this is all the work of one supremely talented artist.
His most recent solo shows include exhibitions in the Zanesville Museum of Art; The Tuscarawas Center for the Arts; Canton Museum of Art; Wright State University; Ohio University; The Hayden Museum of American Art and Kordey Gallerie, both in Texas.
He has earned awards in local, national and international exhibitions including Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional, Southeast Ohio Watermedia Society, Cathedral International Juried Exhibition, Best of Show in the International Touring Art Exhibition. The Hayden Museum published Yan Sun’s paintings in books: “Life. Time. Space” and “Cross Culture. Cross century”
In expressing some of his philosophy of painting, Yan Sun says, “The best paintings are visualizations of the artist’s subjective feelings. Each artwork may not describe a specific story, but rather should attempt to challenge the mind and soul of the beholder and direct him to reflect upon philosophical ideas about life itself, as well as time and space.”
Watching a distinguished artist at work is a privilege afforded to few people, but visitors to the Gallery Hop will have just that opportunity. A very fortunate Ohio Valley resident will have his or her portrait painted by Yan Sun during the course of the evening. The artist has also very generously offered to donate the proceeds from this project to Artworks Around Town.
Yan Sun’s portraits are beautiful and various, featuring such diverse subjects as dancers and musicians, cowboys (and girls), Chinese children and families, Muskingum University Professors, and American Indians, with whom he feels a strong cultural and spiritual connection.
Born in an artist home that is of Tibetan descent, Hong Yin started painting and drawing when she was a little girl. Growing up to seek a formal art education, she first attended Northwest China Normal University. Continuing her work at Xi’an Academy of Fine Art, she earned a Master’s degree in Western Art History. She received both an M.A. and a D.Ed. degree from Texas A&M Univsity where she was named “Alumni Ambassador”.
Hong Yin is now Assistant Professor of Art at Muskingum University teaching Western Art History and Graphic Design.
Her work has been chosen for exhibition in many juried shows such as: Murphy Hill Gallery, Chicago; Southeast Ohio Watermedia Society; Annual Ohio Exhibition, Zanesville Museum of Art; Women Artists Show, Butler Museum of Art, Youngstown; Visions IX Cathedral International Juried Exhibition. She was awarded “Best of Show” in 2010 at the Southeast Ohio Watermedia Society Show.
Hong Yin is the author of several books, including: “An Exploration Into Graphic Design”, “The Old Silk Road”, “Contemporary Chinese Painting” and “The Unity of Nature and Humanity-Chinese Mausoleum Stone Sculptures in the Tang Dynasty”.
While she is interested in many subjects in her painting, her favorite is the Tibetan people and land. She has traveled to the Tibetan area many times and finds endless inspiration for her art creations.
Hong Yin believes the infinite beauty of art is achieved through the artist’s creative imagination, in the presence of which “The Noise of this world dims” and the “viewer” is moved by the artistic impact of forms and meanings.”
The North Gallery of Artworks will host a display of art created by plein air painters which curator Bob Sako, describes as “Painted in Oglebay Park and other places”.
Anne Foreman, Chairman of the Special Projects Committee of the gallery wants everyone to know that there are still a few watering cans for sale, and, when autumn comes, they can move into the house to water the indoor plants or simply to serve as artistic decorations.
As always, the Gallery Hop is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served, and gallery members will be on hand, as well as the exhibiting artists to greet and interact with visitors. The Gallery is located in the North end of the Historic Centre Market at 2200 Main Street in Wheeling.