About Wei Jia
My diversified cultural background has influenced me as an artist by evoking a unique way of thinking and expressing myself. My earliest artistic development was shaped during my years in China, studying classical Chinese painting, poetry and calligraphy. After I moved to the United Sates in the 1980s, elements of modern and contemporary western art revealed themselves in my work. I was influenced by American culture, but feelings of cultural displacement and the co-existence of separate cultural identities taught me to reckon with these influences in my work.
My process involves a rigorously repeated cycle of tearing, mounting and painting, which contributes serendipitous combinations that cannot be replicated. The foundation of my artwork is a variety of hand-made paper widely used in traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. I am fascinated by the long history of hand-made paper in China, by the cultural and historical elements of the paper and by its relationship to nature and craft.
A collage of layers of hand –made paper requires a close look. In my artwork, the viewer is encouraged to free the mind and make a journey of immersion in the rich variations expressed by this exceptional medium. My personal journey involves bringing my daily life into the artwork: the color of changing seasons, the layers of wood, the shape of flowers and plants, the art I enjoy in museums and galleries, the rhythm of Djembe (the African drum) and the aesthetic of ancient poems. For me, this process embodies nature and poetry, sound and silence, richness in density and wealth in space, the past and the present, change and immutability.
Artists create their own problems in order to solve them. I want my work to stand as a successful reconciliation of the challenge to unite western and eastern influences. This was always my artistic ambition for my personal journey from China to the United States. As an artist, I try to rediscover and reexamine the culture of China while living in New York. In this way, I am able to reinvent and recreate the tradition of Chinese art under the influence of modern and contemporary western art.