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Object Spotlight

March Online Auction: Reinventing Silkscreen Prints with Yu Deng

Born in Guangdong, China, Yu Deng graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2008, with a degree in oil painting. An undeniably prolific artist, her works have been shown in many solo exhibitions across the city of Guangzhou and in various group shows not only in Guangzhou but also in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Deng’s silkscreen prints celebrate the natural world through rich details and vivid colours. Inexplicable Sadness presents a fantastical subject with a serene young girl wearing a crown of flora and fauna, her eyes painted over in a vivid blue. The heads of a zebra and giraffe frame a curiously blue polka dot deer staring resolutely straightforward while luxuriant foliage, light pink raspberries, and a sinuous snake rise between the deer’s antlers. Despite the superimposition of the various figures and elements, the scene is flattened within an ivory-white halo set against a yellow background.

Yu Deng, INEXPLICABLE SADNESS (2014), Edition 26/60, 23 x 23 in. Estimate: $800-1,200

Yu Deng, INEXPLICABLE SADNESS (2014), Edition 26/60, 23 x 23″
Estimate: $800-1,200

Change the Way You Kiss Me similarly showcases a luxuriant natural environment, set within a dense jungle. Beneath a narrow expense of night sky, Deng has represented various types of mushrooms growing in an array of reddish shades alongside colourful plants. The vegetation is densely packed together, with low-rising shrubs emerging behind the tall grass and juxtaposed with thin, twisting plants, which creates an undeniably mesmerizing, but rather confounding sight. One could say that this work in particular is reminiscent of the jungle series made famous by Post-Impressionist Henri Rousseau.

Yu Deng, CHANGE THE WAY YOU KISS ME (2014), Edition 20/60, 22 x 21.4 in. Estimate: $800-1,200

Yu Deng, CHANGE THE WAY YOU KISS ME (2014), Edition 20/60, 22 x 21.4″
Estimate: $800-1,200


Henri Rousseau, THE DREAM (1910), Oil on canvas, 80.5 x 117.5 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Henri Rousseau, THE DREAM (1910), Oil on canvas, 80.5 x 117.5″. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

In Deng’s third and final work presented at auction, a wrinkly rhinoceros dominates the composition. Underneath a cloudy night sky, he towers over his surroundings of lush vegetation and assorted flowers strongly resembling in both shape and tone those found in the previous work.

Yu Deng, RHINO FALLS IN LOVE (2014), Edition 18/60, 23.4 x 23.4" Estimate: $1,000-1,200 CAD

Yu Deng, RHINO FALLS IN LOVE (2014), Edition 18/60, 23.4 x 23.4″
Estimate: $1,000-1,200 CAD

The three screen prints featured in our March auction appear to adopt aspects of the Japanese Superflat art movement, first introduced by Takashi Murakami in the 1990s. Superflat calls attention to the ‘flatness’ of Japanese visual culture found in both traditional paintings and in contemporary subcultures, which emerged in the aftermath of World War II. It combines various aspects of Japanese culture, from ukiyo-e (woodblock prints of the Edo period) to anime (animation) and kawaii (cute). It celebrates the tradition of two-dimensionality found in different types of fine art, graphic design, and pop culture.

Photograph by Emarts Emarts.

Photograph by Emarts Emarts.

The earliest form of screen printing originated more than 1,000 years ago in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). While the practice was based on a hand-stenciling method, it quickly evolved into artists using instead a fine mesh stretch over a frame. The mesh could be made from silk, which led to this process being called “silkscreen printing.” Ink is forced through a mesh screen onto a surface where a stencil can be created while making specific areas impermeable to printing ink, thus preventing it from passing through the screen. The ink that does pass through ends up forming the printed image.

View the work of Yu Deng and others at our upcoming Auction Preview at Lipont Gallery:

Tuesday, March 10th – from 10AM-5PM
Wednesday, March 11th – from 10AM-5PM
Thursday, March 12nd – from 10AM-5PM
Friday, March 13th – from 10AM-5PM
Saturday, March 14th – from 10AM-5PM

Re-visit the YKLM Blog section to discover more Object Spotlights, including highlights of our monthly online auctions.

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