Opening February 4, 2021, ArtXchange Gallery presents Tree of Life, featuring new work by Marcio Díaz and Chin Yuen. Both artists create vibrant abstract paintings that draw inspiration from the smallest details in nature – moss on a rock, flower petals, and fallen leaves – to express abstract and universal concepts. Díaz’s pointillism-esque color fields and Yuen’s geometric compositions also evoke larger, more mysterious concepts, ranging from physics and spirituality to personal childhood memories.  

Marcio Diaz | Artist Statement

Having moved to Colorado several years ago, I find inspiration in the Rocky Mountain landscapes surrounding me. I like to observe how nature builds up beautifully detailed textures on different surfaces. Moss on rocks, when you look closely, creates a miniature forest, resembling the greater environment surrounding me. This connection between small and large creates a sense of harmony. When you open your mind and become truly observant of nature’s magic, you will see connections everywhere."

"This new body of paintings draws from this sense of connection in life, joining my interest in the underlying structure of nature with my remembrances of the ceiba tree from my childhood in Nicaragua. The Ceiba tree (also known as the kapok or silk-cotton tree) is a tropical tree with great symbolic importance to the ancient Maya. Its name in the Mayan language is Yax Che (“Green Tree” or “First Tree”). It is a symbol of the universe and a route of communication between earth, the underworld, and the heavens.

Having developed my ‘Bubblism’ technique of creating colorful, vibrant paintings, I am always looking for new ways to build texture over the raindrops of colorful bubbles I create. In previous works, I often painted the natural environments around me – rural landscapes, mountains, flowers. As I explore abstract painting, I imagine filling the canvas with the visual effect of colorful foliage in a forest seen from above – a bird’s eye view of the world.

I start with white canvas laid on the floor, and I drip thin paint to create a gamut of colorful bubbles as a background. Next, I use thicker paint straight from the tube to create more solid drips on top, pressing it with my finger and gently touching the surfaces of the canvas, to create solid drops in the shape of a Ceiba trees thorn. Repeating this process over and over, I create a composition that expresses the sense of unity underlying all creation."

~  Marcio Díaz, 2021

After moving from his home in Estelí, Nicaragua, Marcio Díaz was inspired by the depth of color he saw in the rain-soaked landscape of the Pacific Northwest. His early work was primarily rural scenes infused with warm color and a hint of surreal mystery. Now viewing the world through drops of rain, Díaz began to experiment with abstract painting to express the deeper, richer tones he found in the landscapes of Washington State. Díaz continues to use a variety of techniques in his work, capturing light, color, and emotion through brushstrokes and layering.

Díaz has achieved wide recognition in his twenty-plus years as a painter. In Nicaragua he has received recognition from the Ministry for the Cultural Advancement, and hosted his own art television show. In the United States he has exhibited throughout the West Coast, as well as in Scottsdale, Santa Fe, and New York City. Díaz returns to Nicaragua every year to exhibit his work, teach art classes, and aspires to open an art school for youth.

Chin Yuen | Artist Statement

I see my paintings as windows to fantastical abstract landscapes that celebrate beauty and colours. The creative process nurtures my playful imagination, and the resulting paintings, with their vibrant colours, lift me up. They transport me to a place of restoration and happiness, which turned out to be absolutely necessary in 2020.

"With the pandemic raging and travel restrictions in place, my life became simpler and more introspective. I cherished my valuable studio hours and painted prolifically. Unfortunately, during this period, my beloved mother and mother-in-law past away. A year with compounded world tragedies and personal pains, my art studio was a refuge. I truly appreciated my creativity:  my colourful imaginary landscapes were life-savers that offered me respite and hope.

I recognize the importance and preciousness of life through the glaring absence of my mother. I am more inspired than ever to celebrate life by painting beautiful spaces, where others and I could find relief and spiritual nourishment. It is a time for growth and faith in new beginnings."

~ Chin Yuen, 2021

Chin Yuen, an internationally recognized and award winning painter, was born in Malaysia and studied in Singapore and England before moving to Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors from Vancouver’s Emily Carr University of Art and Design and a Master of Arts from the University of Victoria, Canada. After graduation, she moved to Japan and Italy, where she taught English and Fine Arts for several years.

Yuen continues to travel extensively for work and pleasure. She sees her diverse cultural exposures as an artistic asset and finds inspiration everywhere, from pop-culture to decaying wood. For over 20 years, she has exhibited internationally. Her dynamic abstract paintings are on the covers of international textbooks and the walls of residential homes, hotels, health care centres, and corporate buildings around the globe.

Tree of Life | New Work by Marcio Diaz and Chin Yuen