Pan, Ren Light
Ren Light Pan is a Chinese-American transgender artist living and working in New York, New York. Her work engages with biographical issues dealing with hybridized and transgressive cultural and gender identities. Working between Eastern and Western art history, her strategic use of traditional Chinese ink against modes of contemporary painting—namely readymade or anti-gestures, deconstruction as well as techniques influenced by photographic, filmic and printmaking processes—opened a space for contentious harmony.
Born in an immigrant family, she grew up speaking Mandarin with a strong Chinese identity. Her early interests included oil painting, photography and filmmaking. After receiving her B.A. in New Media – Film/video at the University of California San Diego in 2012, the artist fell into a multi-year depression where she turned to ink painting for solace. The work came from a deep desire for divorce: from the hand, the body, the self. To the artist, her repositioning of artistic agency and authorship was the first step of many toward her eventual reconciliation with her gender identity.
In 2016, Ren Light Pan transitioned, moved to Los Angeles, and discontinued painting for 7 years. In 2022 the artist reengaged with her past work, reexploring the possibilities of ink as a process-based dialogue with her posthumous practice.
2022 marks the first time the artist’s works have been shown. She had her first solo and group shows at Queer Thoughts, New York. She has been included in a group show with Asia Society Texas, Houston Summoning Memories: Art Beyond Chinese Traditions; Martos Gallery, New York; Dairy Arts Center, Boulder, Colorado; and Shoot the Lobster, NADA Miami, Florida. Forthcoming shows this year include a solo show at Jessamine, Dallas, Texas; and a group show at Green Family Art Foundation, Dallas, Texas.
Ink Alchemy at Alisan Fine Arts-Central 2023 is Pan's first exhibition in Asia.
1990 Born in Irvine, California, USA, an immigrant family
Grew up speaking Mandarin with a strong Chinese identity
2012 B.A., Visual Arts-New Media Film/Video, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
2015 Artist-in-Residence, Ox-Bow School of Arts—Printmaking Studio (satellite of School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Saugatuck, Michigan, USA
2016 Transitioned, moved to Los Angeles and discontinued painting for 7 years
2022 Reengaged with her past work
First solo and group exhibitions in New York, USA
2023 First exhibition in Asia, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
Present Lives and works in New York, USA
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
- Body of Water, Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, USA (forthcoming)
- One Death, Two Lives, Jassamine, Dallas, Texas, USA (forthcoming)
- gardening with ren :), Queer Thoughts, New York, USA
- Kunsthaus Galarus Museum, Galarus, Switzerland (declined due to Covid)
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
- Ink and Light, Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado, USA (forthcoming)
- Ink Alchemy: Beyond Tradition, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
- Summoning Memories: Art Beyond Chinese Traditions, Asia Society Texas, Houston, USA
- Under Erasure, Martos Gallery, New York, USA
- inVISIBLE | hyperVISIBLE, Dairy Arts Center, Boulder, Colorado, USA
- Shoot the Lobster, NADA Miami, Florida, USA
- Devastation, Queer Thoughts, New York, USA