Mai Yap has dedicated her work to the study of nature in its many forms emerging from the smallest seeds to the broadest aerial landscapes. With these series she wanted to call attention to what is happening to our planet. To better express her concerns about our environment, she has utilized a combination of abstract expressionism and geometric shapes strategically hidden and applied solely with the palette knife. As if weaving a tapestry with pure oil paints, the colors are painstakingly applied stroke by stroke, layer by layer, to create very powerful images on each canvas. Because of the thick texture of paint that can range from completely flat to several millimeters thick, her paintings have cleverly been referred to as “sculptures in oil”.
By studying these environmental abstracts and how they depict nature in motion, the viewer is intrigue by the hidden geometric shapes. Since these shapes are an intentional intrusion into the flow of the paintings, she hopes to illustrate all the consequences human-induced pollution, habitat loss, and depletion of our natural resources have on our planet. The large curves are connections between nature and man. Only lastly, when she is certain the painting is finished, she “destroys” the image with deep cuts to demonstrate how the earth must feel. The numerous layers of paint revealed solely through these cuts highlight the need to unravel the truth by digging deeper and taking action.
To appreciate these complex designs in their many different conceptual levels, she invites you to bask in their purity of color and extremely dramatic texture. In spite of the influence of man’s oversights against our planet, she believes there is always hope. Most people want what is best, and, if they are shown the way, will join hands to effect the changes necessary for ourselves, our children, and our children’s children.
These powerful series of paintings are titled “Summer Acts” in reference to the most violent, yet productive season of the year.