Artist Ruby Leyi Yang On Minimalism As A Form Of Meditation


I love abstract painting, which is why Ruby Leyi Yang’s artwork speaks to me. She was just part of a group show in Seattle called “Low Dust” at Soil Gallery, where she showed some of these abstract paintings.

The Bay Area artist is a multifaceted visual artist whose creative journey spans between the bustling streets of China and the artistic hub of San Francisco. Renowned for her captivating abstract paintings, Ruby’s artistic repertoire extends to neon signage artworks, mesmerizing printmaking, and captivating performance art pieces.

Ruby has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she honed her craft, and a Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her artistic legacy is woven through the fabric of various art galleries across the United States, including the esteemed Vanitas Contemporary in Los Angeles, the innovative Yiwei Gallery, the enchanting Gallery All, the iconic Sullivan Gallery in Chicago, and the visionary Hive Center for Contemporary Art in bustling Beijing. 

She explains why she loves minimalism, its more about poetry. Ruby perceives minimalism not just as an aesthetic choice, but as an essential way of life. In her view, the modern age, characterized by digital abundance and sensory overload, calls for a return to simplicity. She meticulously crafts pieces that defy conventional expectations. “I think people think less about negative space,” Yang muses. “I think when there is more negative space in a work, it raises the attention of the power of imagination, the mind. It is also a dialogue with yourself to see yourself in a different way. Maybe that’s why people think less is more?” 

For Ruby, minimalism isn’t merely about decluttering physical spaces or simplifying design elements; it represents a holistic approach towards achieving balance and harmony within oneself and one’s environment. By advocating for less clutter and more substance in both art and everyday existence, she underscores how minimalism can serve as an antidote to modern society’s relentless pursuit of more.

Her artworks are visual haikus—each stroke deliberate, each color meaningful yet understated—capturing moments suspended between tranquility and introspection. These pieces encourage viewers to appreciate beauty in simplicity while contemplating their innermost thoughts—a dialogue between creator and observer facilitated by negative space.

Nadja Sayej

Nadja Sayej is a New York-based culture journalist and photographer writing for Forbes, The Guardian, The Observer, and more. She has written eight books and has interviewed over 1000 celebrities over her 15 year career.