Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Requiem" by Sylvia Ji

Sylvia Ji is an artist I’ve been familiar with for a couple of years, but until today I never knew her name. I stumbled upon her work and google and browsed her own gallery; this is the piece that really caught my eye. Like a mass majority of her works, “Requiem” is painted in acrylic/mixed media on wood panel, measuring 48”x24”. What really drew me to her work originally was her subject matter. She paints exquisite women in intricate make-up/face paint or clothing often against simple monotone backgrounds. She presents the female form and face elegantly and often contrasts that with that intense make-up. What I find so aesthetic in “Requiem” is the composition. The female figure is placed on the left side of the image, her hair flowing into the right. Although the figure is dense, the image doesn’t feel one sided. Sylvia uses a gradated background, becoming darker from left to right, to balance the figure. The image is painted horizontally, which emphasis the flow of the gradated background and the movement of the hair across the image. The horizontal composition of the image also contrasts the vertical figure and the vertical lilies, which provides an eye catching visual effect. Although I do not know why this image is created or for who, I feel as though Sylvia is emphasizing that female beauty can be powerful, sometimes shocking.

Sylvia Ji has a great gallery of her works on her website:


  1. She seems to use that particular pattern of makeup a lot in her work - many pieces in her gallery have it. I wonder if it has some specific cultural meaning?

  2. The work on her face reminds me of Mexico's Day of the Dead celebration.