My watercolour painting practice reveals and communicates ideas of an ‘inner self’ via imagery that evokes a conscious and unconscious self, along with personal identity and attachment. Each of my paintings focuses on reconstructing something from the past via thoughts and memories which in turn form as agencies and actions in relation to notions of a ‘fragmented self’. These works explore the possibilities of reconciliation between one’s internal world, memory, and the contradictions of the maternal body, along with one’s relationships to others.   

Arising through investigations into the work of artist Louise Bourgeois, my practice focuses on the essential dichotomies of being human. This ranges across investigations into consciousness and unconsciousness, the abstract and the figurative, feeling, emotion and physical form, construction and destruction, and reparation. My watercolour practice examines various aspects of our human condition as unregulated.  

The persistent and intense ambition for the contents and feelings within my paintings arises from my curiosity about causalities between myself and my body, my subconscious mind, and my psychological interests in relation to parents along with the external environment. While creating each work, I always make a connection to my unconscious and my dreams, and hence my mind fills with ambiguous shapes that are often related to the disintegrated body, which comes to me like a flood of memory.  

During the process of creating these watercolour paintings, I pass beyond directing the watercolour paint, and away from my conscious self to find imageries that are a type of chaotic clump, a fusing of associations. Through this, for myself as artist, and equally for the viewer, I attempt to heal the child self. In doing this, there are inferences in each work around contrasts between control and spontaneity, assembled and structured expression and a raw presentation of expression because of an intense impulse. These all create conceptual movements and feelings within viewer as they grapple with the ongoing change in each work of mercurial and watery coloured painting, and transitioning imageries.

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Doris XinZhi Li