Artist Profile – Snow Yunxue Fu

Published on 2018-02-12

Artwork featured at the salon: 'Side' (2017) a Moving Image Installation with Audio (Edition 1 +1AP, Duration: 06:08)

Snow Yunxue Fu (b. 1987) is a Chinese-born and Chicago-based artist exploring the aesthetic concept of the sublime through a wide range of digital media. Trained as a painter, Fu is known for her elaborate 3D animations that are modeled after the allegorical paintings of Caspar David Friedrich. Fu introduced computer animation to contemporary art at a time when the medium was colored by its mainstream associations with scientific modeling and commercial animation in film.

For Fu, experimental media offers “a refreshing conversation” in its endless variety of expressive forms. In an interview at DePaul University in 2016, Fu describes her fascination with experimental media as it allows her to work conceptually with a measure of freedom. While there remains a “history to be dealt with” in experimental media like 3-D animation, she notes that it is “a younger and more energetic one.”

Working primarily with Maya and Realflow, Fu’s mesmerizing scenes of intentional abstraction are the result of a translation of fine arts techniques into the intricate lexicon of digital software. As a painter, she was most interested how an artist can work to “conjur[e] something infinite in nature.” Her works are often derivative of her own encounters with natural phenomena, referencing traditional Chinese landscape painting’s push of the pictorial frame into the surrounding environment.

A deep understanding of how perception works – namely its capacity to alter both a work’s material expansiveness and its subject matter across mediums – informs Fu’s creative techniques.  The works flirt with understood boundaries and limits between virtual and physical realities. Works like “Ray 1” (2016), for instance, fuse the limitless dimensions of animation with organic sound, gesturing at the unbounded potential of digitized frontiers.

But her works aren’t limited to the virtual realm, often relying on physical outlets to capture their experiential affects. Her two solo exhibitions, “Still” (2015) at Yellow Peril Gallery in Providence and “Tunnel” (2015) at Mana Contemporary in Chicago, encapsulated Fu’s interest in the spatial relationship between digital architectures and spectator bodies.

As an international artist, Fu has exhibited her work worldwide, including at the Hong Kong Arts Center, the Centro de Cultura Digital in Mexico City, and the Centre des Arts d’Enghien-les-Bains. Her early painting work, “Kissing the Mother,” entered the permanent collection of the National Museum of China in 1994, making Fu the youngest artist represented by the collection. Domestically, her work has been featured at Kunsthalle Detroit, Spaces Gallery in Cleveland, and Galerie Protégé in New York. In addition, her films have been featured at the 9:16 Film Festival in Australia and the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago.  She has also curated several shows, most recently “0,0,0” and “Über-Marionettes” (2017) at SAIC. 

Fu also serves on the faculty at both the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She earned her BFA in Studio Art from Sichuan Normal University, Southeast Missouri State University, and SAIC, and her MFA from the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation department at SAIC.

Artwork on loan from the artist, video excerpt courtesy of the artist.

Artist Bio Written by Arshy Azizi for The Current