Yewen Dong

Artist Statement

My work is about the tension and relationship between human (man-made) space and natural space.

I am drawn to the surface of different spaces -– solid and liquid, striated and smooth, city and landscape, which record the marks of human interaction.

I use clay, ceramics, handmade paper, collage, and video to translate the fragments of spatial memories into tangible and physical forms. Textures and shapes mark my movements through space I have experienced before.


I like walking while looking down at the ground.

Time passes looking at the grid, the edge, the crack, the relief, the surface, the texture.

Fragile balance exists between nature and the man-made; for instance, rain, wind, and variations in temperature weather the concrete, which is later filled with asphalt. This continues the cycle of erosion and recovery.


My practice reflects the fragile movement of time.

Memories of the past are fragments, and the individual, either the artist or the viewer, is the connection between their fragmented movements.


I employ layers as a formal element to explore the narrative of time.

A period of time could constitute layers of individual moments in a day.

Time is recorded through a process of duplicating and overlapping layers; each layer has a different state, orientation, and kinetic quality.


I imagine water (rivers, lakes, and oceans) as an undulating bed sheet floating above the ground;

I like sitting, standing and walking in the water and being submerged in water up to my neck - but I don’t know how to swim.

-- Yewen Dong


Yewen Dong was born and grew up in Shenzhen, a coastal city in China. She received her BA in Art and Design from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2013, continuing her education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC); she received her MFA in Ceramics in 2017. Her practice incorporates drawing, sculpture, ceramics, papermaking, and video.

She has presented her work at the American Museum of Ceramic Art, CA; Society for Contemporary Craft, PA; Muskegon Museum of Art, MI; and Mana Contemporary Chicago, IL. Her work is part of The Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection at SAIC.