My name is Rebecca Nie, and I create art to invite the audience in for Zen encounters that are direct experiences of our shared original wisdom. The inspiration for my paintings comes from my introspection, global adventures, and attainment in diverse disciplines.
Art is my lifelong pursuit. I have studied representational art making with classical training since childhood and continued to attend college-level classes at various art institutions during secondary education. At the age of 18, I decided to expand the horizon and add depth to my investigation of lights, colors, and forms by studying them from a different angle. I attended the University of Toronto and graduated with dual degrees specializing in quantum optics and pure mathematics. My studies in science enabled me to approach art making with perspectives such as the optical theory of colors and higher-dimensional abstraction. It also brought me to finish my graduate degree at Stanford University, where I explored the visual wonders of galaxy formation with world-class scientists.
My art is also influenced by the diverse civilizations in which I have immersed myself. Spending my formative years in China and Canada, I now reside and teach in California. I have also lived intimately with the Turkish culture, studied in India, and taught calculus and meditation in Bhutan, where the majestic landscapes and spiritual heritage of the Himalayas tremendously enriched my practice. My paintings’ medium and usage of abstraction are Western and contemporary, while their conceptual foundations are rooted in the Eastern aesthetic and philosophical heritage that employs the representational techniques in the visual and literary art as metaphors for human conditions. Through striking compositions and layers of symbolism, my work embodies this tradition that cherishes beauty as metaphors of morality and the pursuit of wisdom.
Another dimension of depth in my art comes from my spiritual practice: I am the advisor of Stanford Zen Society and a Zen Master who traces the lineage of enlightenment 80 generations back to the Buddha. When creating, I let go of my limited self to allow the lines, colors, and textures come forth from a mystical center in my being, and I know that it is the space through which we are all connected. I trust this approach to express the universal awakened nature within every one of us.