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Just as a person's physical appearance creates a certain shared response, jewelry, too, attracts attention to the person whom it adorns. This body of work bridges these two types of aesthetic considerations and the respective social rules related to them. The set of social rules governing the perception of and reaction to a person's physical traits is significantly different from the set governing body adornment. Indeed, acceptable responses to jewelry--curious gazes, inquiries and physical scrutiny--would be inappropriate in most cultures with regard to many physical traits.
The visual reference of my work is deliberately ambiguous, though the inspiration mostly comes from physical traits that I find intriguing. Conceptually, I intend for these pieces to be at once unsettling and beautiful. This juxtaposition alludes to the way scars are formed from wounds. While they record the painful experience of an injury, they also symbolize the body's power for self-healing and its vital potential for growth.
Generally in my metalwork, I tend to favor fabrication techniques. As a metalsmith, I value a great deal the traditional or ancient practices, such as the Japanese chasing and repoussé techniques used to create some of these pieces. I derive a tremendous amount of satisfaction from maintaining a direct and intimate connection with my material.
Yuyen Chang was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1972 and moved to Wisconsin in 1990. Chang attended the UW-Madison art metals graduate program and studied with Professor Fred Fenster, Professor Eleanor Moty and Professor Lisa Gralnick. She received her MFA degree in fall of 2002.
Chang has received numerous grants and awards, including the Society of North American Goldsmiths Educational Endowment and SNAG Minority Scholarship, UW Haystack Fellowship, and Vilas Graduate Fellowship. She was a finalist in the 2001 and 2003 NICHE AWARD.
Chang has exhibited nationally, including: Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Center for Visual Arts in Denver, Colorado; Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia; Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City, South Dakota; LeMoyne Art Foundation in Tallahassee, Florida; and Vermont State Craft Center in Burlington, Vermont.
Her work was featured in Metalsmith Magazine's "Exhibition In Print 2002," and the spring issue in 2003.