Colour, culture and mathematics all play a part in artist’s work at exhibition

Colour, culture and mathematics all play a part in artist’s work at exhibition

The work of emerging artist Henry Yang will be on display this month at an East End exhibition focusing on colour and form.

Henry (OE 2005–2012) has studied at Central Saint Martins and Chelsea College of Art. Both colleges are part of the University of the Arts London, where he took a First in Fine Art last year.

He and three other rising artists are self-curating the exhibition, Primary, which takes place at 103 Murray Grove, close to Shoreditch Park. It is co-curated by Rut Blees Luxemburg, reader in Urban Aesthetics at the Royal College of Arts.

Visitors will be able to see two of Henry’s paintings, Cherry Blossom and Hydrangea – both 1 sq m canvases in oil painted this year. The stained-glass window in the former “represents the light of truth and evokes religious ideology in connection to the Divine Light,” Henry explains.

“My early interest in art and image-making came through a period in which I was experiencing cultural change,” he says. Born in Shenzhen, China, Henry arrived in London in 2001. “My formative years involved an exposure to a wide variety of cultures and visual media. These constant changes in surroundings left a yearning for something solid; the still image made an appeal. The juxtaposition of cultural tastes and styles would later become elements in these images.

“Through my development during my studies at Central Saint Martins and Chelsea College of Art, my interest in curiosities, scientific ideology and philosophical discourses led me to explore the ideas of faith and religion in the 21st Century. With scientific and technological advancements leading the way in which people perceive our reality, repeated patterns, coincidences and chance occurrences, surfaced as an interest.”

A common theme running through his work is that of the mathematical φ Phi, the source ratio which was defined in the 3rd Century BC by Euclid in his treatise, Elements, and later expanded upon by the Italian mathematician, Luca Pacioli (1445–1517) in De Divina Proportione. “Often described as God's fingerprint, Phi, along with Pi, another irrational number, appears as a repeated fundamental pattern in the universe,” Henry adds.

The exhibition presents a dialogue between different interpretations surrounding colour and form, highlighting current contemporary practice in the media of image-making and sculpture, with particular attention drawn to arrangement and collage, as well as to the aesthetic qualities of shape and colour.

Henry’s artistic talent was already evident when he was at QE: two of his paintings still have pride of place on the Headmaster’s study walls.

“QE allowed me to engage and experiment with imagery and art, allowing me to form a diverse and concise foundation in preparation for my studies in art further afield. As such I remain grateful and indebted to the School,” said Henry. He paid tribute especially to the “excellent guidance and tutelage” of his Art teachers, Stephen Buckeridge and Ashley West.

At A-level, he studied History, Art, Chemistry and Physics, also taking up the opportunity to study Photography and Art in Year 13.
Henry lives and works in London. In his spare time, he plays 11, 8 and 5-a-side football on 4G artificial grass surfaces.

Primary runs from 9th–13th September at 103 Murray Grove, N1 7QF.

  1. Art