(above) by Candace diCarlo
emerging as one of Americas
most innovative urban designers and, many believe, social pioneers,
Lily Yeh FA66 spent much of her young adult life struggling uneasily
in the interzone between disparate cultural traditions and identities.
Born 58 years ago in preńcommunist China, Yeh grew up in Taiwan
as the daughter of an army general. She was just out of her teens
when she was uprooted from the social, aesthetic and spiritual world
shed known, emigrating to the United States in the early 1960s
to attend Penns Graduate School of Fine Arts.
Penn, under the tutelage of a faculty that included such luminaries
as professors Jim Van Dyck, Angelo Savelli and fine-arts director
Malcolm Campbell, Yeh experienced an intensive initiation into the
techniques, history and aesthetics of classical and modernist Western
art, a process she found both exhilarating and profoundly disorienting,
I had started painting when I was in junior
high school, when my father, who loved classic Chinese landscape
painting, first took me to a masters house. The way we learned
in China was by strictly copying our masters and studying nature.
Personal expression was not encouraged, she explains. When I came
to the States, though, it was all free-style, abstract and geared
toward expressing personalities. In this urban world, no one knew
or cared about landscapes. Id been catapulted across time. I felt
like a woman with bound feet, and I couldnt walk.
July/August Contents | Gazette
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Gazette Last modified 6/27/00