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Life’s Track: A Centenary Celebration of Richard Yip (1919 – 1981)
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Life’s Track: A Centenary Celebration of Richard Yip (1919 – 1981)

Event date: 3/18/2019 9:00 AM - 4/5/2019 4:30 PM Export event

The Reynolds Gallery at the University of the Pacific is pleased to announce its next exhibition Life’s Track: A Centenary Celebration of Richard Yip (1919 – 1981). Organized by the artist’s family and the University Curator, the show features work from the family collection and the University’s permanent art collection. The show explores four decades of Richard Yip’s paintings in the context of mid-20th century ideas of Eastern and Western art and the artists of the “California Scene.” A beloved teacher at Pacific and beyond, Yip’s exuberant and approachable philosophy toward making art is on view in more than 35 works in watercolor, acrylic, and collage from the mid 1940s to the time of his death in 1981.

Born in Canton, China, Yip emigrated to the United States and settled in Stockton with his father in 1931. He received a scholarship to study in Oakland at the California College of Arts & Crafts but his training was cut short by WWII when he enlisted in the Air Force. After the war he returned to China to refine his study of classical Chinese painting and returned once again to California with a new wife and the first of five children in 1948. He graduated from the College of the Pacific in 1951 and did graduate work at UC Berkeley while beginning the teaching career that would span the rest of his life. 

Considered an outstanding watercolorist in a field that included many European trained artists who made their way to Hollywood to work in animated films, Yip is considered a second-generation California Scene painter. His subjects include everything from urban grit to dramatic weather, coastal landscapes to village festivities painted on site in wide-ranging locations from Yosemite to Yugoslavia. Working rapidly on wet paper he used saturated pigments and improvised tools creating a body of work that synthesized east and west in varying degrees of abstraction. In a 1973 interview he summarized this approach “In the West we rely on our senses more. In the Orient you rely more on musing – you let your mind run free.”

Yip taught thousands of students up and down the West Coast and beyond. Organizing his field workshops became the family business which sometimes included feeding class participants and their spouses fish stew on a beach in Mexico or punch and cookies in Golden Gate Park during their class exhibitions. Yip’s success as a teacher is grounded in his recognition of each student’s gifts and his notebooks are filled with sincere instructions: “Be yourself; don’t be afraid to be unconventional.” “There is no right way or wrong way to paint.” “Tackle one thing at a time!” “Just as an atomic particle, we leave a life track of existence. We hope by being, we contribute to humanity.”

The artist exhibited during his lifetime at the San Francisco Museum of Art Rotunda Gallery, Denver Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the California State Fair, and the Kingsley Art League (Crocker Museum) among other venues. He completed commissions and served as judge for regional and national exhibitions and was a member of both the California and American Watercolor Societies.

The Reynolds Gallery is located in the Jeannette Powell Art Center on the campus of the University of the Pacific at 1071 W. Mendocino Ave in Stockton. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and visit us at Exhibition Dates March 18 – April 5. Two receptions are free and open to the public, Thursday March 21 from 6 – 8 pm and Saturday March 23, from 1 – 4 pm. Gallery hours Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm. 

CONTACT: Department of Art & Graphic Design (209) 946-2241, [email protected].

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