MATERIA MEDICA, 2013
Full artist statement

Before modern day medicine, curingthe diseases of the body were based on philosophical and abstract reasoning.
Materia medicais an exploration of the relationship between the human body andnature, specifically within Chinese herbology. The practice of herbology today,has become an international and widespread phenomenon. There is a return to the‘old medicine’ that employs natural remedies to maintain the body’s state ofhealth and balance. This resurgence of traditional medicine may be seen as aboth a response and alternative to the highly mechanized lifestyle andincreasing tendency to gravitate towards the ‘natural’ in the 21st century.This newly disseminated ancient convention of healing, has re-established theformation of a relationship between nature and us, in an age where I feel weare disconnected from the essence of the natural world.



Each of these images depicts a particular recipe (that in practice is brewed into a tea) and functions as a treatment for a specific ailment. These images are created in attempts to pay respects to a conventional Oriental style. By bringing these objects back into a two-dimensional plane, I wanted to reference the traditional aesthetic of Chinese paintings and also harmonize that with the photographic medium.

  As an artist that is Chinese yet Canadian-born, the development of Materia medica and the construction of these two-dimensional still lives has become an investigation of my own cultural heritage. Throughout this process, I have been continually conflicted with the absence of the choice between Eastern and Western aesthetics, because I simply had a subconscious tendency to form an image that was predominantly Western in style. And thus, I have come to realize that I am as much familiar as I am unfamiliar with my own cultural heritage.

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