Artist StatementWith a field-driven approach, Ding Ren’s practice examines cross-cultural patterns at the junction between the foreign and the familiar. Her work is informed by the experience of living in-between cultures: between China, The United States, and The Netherlands. Instead of obvious patterns, she is interested in the ones that are subtle and nuanced—traces in the topography and geography. Her analogue photographs of color, light, shadow and textural forms possess sublime qualities that conjure up feelings of both beauty and fear. These photographs are meant to show a connectedness with the immediate environment as well as express an inner personal state that stems from Ren’s interest in emotions and the human condition. By combining an intuitive way of working with analogue photographic processes, Ren’s work provides both physical and conceptual stability to an otherwise fast-paced and fleeting world.
Ding Ren (b. 1983, China) is an artist, writer, and teacher, who is currently based between Washington, DC (US) and Amsterdam (NL). She received her MFA from George Washington University (US) in 2009. Her work has been exhibited in the United States, Netherlands, Germany, the Philippines, China, Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, and the UK. Her written work has been published for Artslant Worldwide, Urbanite, and Radar Redux. She participated in Maryland Art Place’s Critic’s Residency Program in 2006, mentored by Eleanor Heartney and Irving Sandler. In 2012, she spoke in the Facing Forward lecture series organized by the Stedelijk Museum, University of Amsterdam, de Appel, SMBA, W139, and Metropolis M and was a short-list finalist for the Frieze Foundation’s Emdash Award. In 2013 Ren was a Provisions Library Research Fellow (Washington, DC) and in 2014, completed a residency at The Guesthouse (Cork, IE) and was a shortlist finalist for the Sondheim Award (Baltimore, MD, US). In 2015, her work was published in Papersafe magazine, Facing Forward: Art & Theory from a Future Perspective (University of Amsterdam Press/University of Chicago Press) and acquired by the He XiangNing Art Museum (Shenzhen, CN) for their permanent collection. Ren is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor of Photography for University of Maryland, University College and previously taught at the FotoFactory in Amsterdam, NL.