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Joanne Yulan’s signature abstract artworks made with Chinese ink on handmade Indian paper are inspired by calligraphy and the fluid nature of the written word. This abstract series is based on positive and uplifting Chinese characters, words such as beauty and prosperity. By dissecting the strokes within the characters, repeating them and displacing them, they move away from words and become an abstract composition.

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This series of abstract paintings recall the heroic works of Abstract Expressionism that dominated mid-century Western Art. Rendered on untreated boards, these works are both raw and energetic. The rounded translucent shapes in watercolour sometimes fall under or over the sweeping dark strokes in opaque gouache giving textural and colourful depth.

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Joanne Yulan’s foray into using oil paint is a new development. These are the first of new works where the artist experiments with the new medium, abstract oil painting, used in an unorthodox way. Shunning the classic application of oil paint, the artist applied it as if it was ink, using her signature mix of industrial and classic brushes directly and fluidly on an unprepared board. The effect is raw and spontaneous.

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An obsession with vintage flea markets inspired Yulan to experiment with a new background for her works. These abstract paintings based on calligraphy and ancient letters are rendered on aged pages from vintage books. The texture and colour of the paper lend a softer tone behind the flashes of coloured oil paint brush strokes and the more graphic nature of the darkest tones.

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