Xiaojing Yan: Where Two Rivers Meet

Lonsdale Gallery

November 15 – December 20, 2019

Join us for the Opening Reception: Saturday, November 16, from 2 to 5pm.
Artist in Attendance!


Lonsdale Gallery presents where two rivers meet, a two-floor solo exhibition by award winning artist Xiaojing Yan. From intricate sculpture and installations that are monumental in scale to intimate sized works on paper, this exhibition explores the confluence between the natural world and modes of cultural exchange. Akin to two flowing bodies of water that intersect and merge into a singular dynamic current, Yan’s creative practice blends traditional Chinese materials and techniques with contemporary aesthetics and presentation.

In Spirit Cloud, thousands of luminous freshwater pearls are suspended from clear filaments; evoke otherworldly cloud formations and scholar’s stones. Created from 33,000 freshwater pearls, which reference the shape of lingzhi mushrooms and smoke, explores themes of duality, and the tension between ephemerality and permanence. Clouds formed by thousands of shimmering dots materialize like a three dimensional pointillist painting free floating in space.

In Far From Where You Divined, the artist explores the natural growth cycles of the lingzhi mushroom by creating a series of near life-sized sculptures of a young girl, a deer, and a group of rabbits, fashioned entirely from cultivated Lingzhi mushrooms and wood chips. Yan extends her material exploration in her Lingzhi Mushroom Paintings, creating three-dimensional ‘living’ paintings with textured creamy golden and brown hued surfaces. In spite of being constrained into a rigid form, young mushroom sprouts can be seen growing outwards from the sides, highlight their extraordinary adaptability and resilience.


(left to right) Xiaojing Yan, far from where you divined, 2017 cultivated lingzhi mushrooms, wood chips and wood, dimensions variable; Linghzi, 2014, cast bronze, dimensions variable. Images Courtesy of the Artist ©Xiaojing Yan

Yan draws deep connections between these rare mushrooms – their forms and materiality – and her own lived experiences. Yan’s Linghzi Girl, a female bust cast in bronze and finished with a rich green patina, captures the life cycle of the Linghzi. Immortalized in bronze, the sculpture highlights the paradox between life and death. In Lingzhi, a wall installation made up of dozens of individually cast bronze mushrooms in varied sizes, which cascade across and grow out from the wall. Yan uses the mushrooms as a visual reminder about the sense of loss felt by being separated from loved ones often experience of the Chinese diaspora.

In her Naturally Natural series, the artist takes on an exploration of duality and chance. Diaphanous networks of fine lines blossom across the surface of paper to create elegant expressive compositions, recalling root systems, nerve clusters, rivers, and coastlines. Combining the organic properties of the sumi ink with contemporary synthetic, yupo paper, Chinese artistic traditions and Western abstract expressionism; Yan highlights and reflects on the importance that hybridity plays in her practice.

Yan’s work is a celebration of the transformative qualities of art – its ability to express bold new visions and communicate cross-culturally. Trained in both the East and the West, Yan has cultivated a distinctive artistic vision, which highlights what it means to thrive between two cultures. Yan’s work can be seen as a visual expression of the confluence of two cultures; when combined they become a catalyst for inciting a dialogue about sense of place, identity, and temporality.


410 Spadina Road, Toronto, ON, M5P 2W2
416.487.8733 | info@lonsdalegallery.com

Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, or by appointment

Lonsdale Gallery is a partially accessible venue with an entrance at street level to enter the main level of the gallery. Please note, we do not have an elevator to access second level of the gallery and the restroom. For any special assistance or queries about the venue please call or email the gallery.