Five questions to Mary L. Peng

Five questions to Mary L. Peng

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Based in Boston, US, Mary L. Peng is a self-taught multi-media artist, spanning digital art, paintings, and mixed-media art. Peng’s oeuvre delves into the intricate links between the human body and psyche, reality, perception, and nature. Blending visual elements as organic living forms, her work oscillates between outright exploration of visceral aesthetics and the probing of philosophical concepts on constructionism and connectedness. 

How did you get into art?

As a self-taught artist, I started experimenting with digital mediums about two years ago and became completely addicted to the moment of thrill and “creative high” during the process of imagining, creating, and contemplating. I decided to venture into physical mixed mediums a while ago to explore a closer relationship between creation, imagination, and physical materiality, where I let the medium be the massage of my creativity and let the idiosyncrasies of of different mediums be the co-creative driving force of my work.

How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

I would use “intuitive impressionism” to describe my work, with an absurd, non-sensical, but rich composition where colors contrast dynamically, creating a visual experience that is reflective of the dynamic interplay between fleeting thoughts and free expressions, both chaotic and harmonious. I use a wide color palette that ranges from soft pastels to intense, vivid hues to capture the momentary interplay of light and color, resembling the fleeting impressions of both the natural world and the subconscious world, one of my most sacred inspirations. I hope to let my technique suggest spontaneity and freedom, allowing the viewer to experience an intuitive sense of movement and a subtle sense of rebellion to the perception of an orderly and structured world.

How do you go about developing your work?

I do not really have a process. I usually have an overall vision of colors that would appear in my head and I start from there and spend hours adding and subtracting elements on a piece of paper of canvas. The decision to conclude a piece is based on a subjective moment of realization when I feel that the piece is complete. This moment is purely based on my achieving a balance or harmony that I sense intuitively. My method, relying heavily on spontaneous decisions and emotional responses, makes the creative process a deeply personal experience for me, where the impressions of the moment and the emotional resonance of forms overpower the strict adherence to traditional techniques or detailed planning. Each piece is a specific snapshot of time, embodied and lived.

Who or what influences you?

Transcendentalism, romanticism, quantum physics, Taoism, and the natural world.

Writers and poems and philosophers that inspire my work: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Mary Oliver.

Scientists that inspire my work: Carl Sagan, Michio Kaku.

Make us curious. What are you planning to do next?

Given my background as a trained public health professional, one of my aspirations is to marry the field of public health and the art world. I am setting up a studio, “Mary Peng Studio”, to support global health initiatives that I will be setting up through collaborations with hospitals, healthcare systems, schools, and non-profits, whereby I will directly develop and fund these initiatives through revenue from the art and design services that I provide.

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