Yu Peng (1955-2014) was born in an area along Taipei’s Waishuang Creek, and passed away in Taipei in 2014. Compared to the people that suffered from separation and displacement back in the earlier era, whom Pai Hsien-Yung depicted in his novel, Taipei People, Yu grew up in the comparatively more stable post-war era.
Yu’s lifelong art career could be divided into the following three stages: the early-stage from 1980 to 1997; the middle-stage from 1998 to 2004, and the late-stage from 2004 to 2014. Yu created mostly drawings and watercolor works in the early-stage, and besides stylistic influences from Chen Yi-Keng, Yu was also inspired by both Taiwanese and overseas artists that he had read about in magazines such as The Lion Art Monthly and Artist. During the middle-stage, he was invited by Cheng Tsai-Tung in 1997 to stay in Shanghai for three years. In addition to first-hand experience of the glamorous Shanghai, Yu also traveled through different parts of China, which inspired the depth and diverse features seen in his ink landscapes and paintings of people.
Landscapes of Desire: Figure Series is an iconic series from this stage in Yu’s career. Yu began to suffer from medical conditions in 2005 till he passed away in 2014, but he still frequently traveled between China and Taiwan to partake in many art projects and exhibitions.
Yu was well known for his ink paintings; however, his earlier sketches and pastel drawings also offer great insights on his masterful ink creations, as these earlier works reveal how he had successfully transformed the lines and strokes from Western drawings into the exciting ink expressions created later in his career. Yu’s oil paintings, prints, calligraphies, and hand-painted ceramic artworks are also innovative and highly unique.