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We are immensely pleased to present The Lake, a new artwork created in response to Psalm 139, painted by Shawn Yu. This painting dives into a new theme – Water – for Summer 2012 with Spark and Echo Arts.

With a tension set between representational certainty and graphic overlay, Shawn intends his fantastic scenarios to be “read as both a visual game and a narrative.” Shawn’s visual and metaphorical language incorporates “Metallic Vessels” in each of his paintings along with stylized imagery and perspective.

A voracious reader of philosophy including Vladimir Nabokov, Baudrilliard, Roland Barthes, and Marshall McLuhan(media studies), Shawn notes that his favorite writer Nabokov’s novels “are usually a collage of different styles which probe into different points of view.” Shawn is inspired to paint using a “collage-like visual language that is a mix match of elements from different medias.” With each new painting his own vocabulary revolves, writing his own narrative with a story line woven through his current strokes of paint. Characters of steel teapots, knights, “skin gloves,” and faces posture in hidden, contained – or appear in a sliver of selectively revealed – compositions in oil. Shawn’s painterly response to Psalm 139 zooms into the individual experience, perhaps sublime and terrifyingly isolated in the vast sea of “the unknown,” while anchoring the comfort contained in those verses.

Psalms 139:9-10

The Lake


Shawn Yu


Artist Location: Richmond, Virginia

Curated by: 



18 x 24 inches

Oil on canvas

Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

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I placed a Metallic Vessel in my painting as both a visual motif and a symbol for containment; I really like the imagery of some one being lost and out of reach. I wanted my painting to have a feel of Dante-being-led-out-of-Purgatory.

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

Shawn Yu is an itinerant painter who spend his time traveling between Beijing, New York, Washington D.C. and various places on the United States east coast. He holds a MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art. He has recently accepted a teaching position in Richmond, VA.

Shawn Yu

About the Artist

Shawn Yu

Other Works By