這二十年來，她前後完成了皇家藝術學院的碩士學位、費爾茅斯藝術學院的藝術哲學博士學位，更因為精湛的創作能力與才華，獲得英國王室策封為「Royal College of Art LADY」的殊榮。此時的她也受到國際畫廊的青睞，紛紛登門拜訪，尋求與她合作的機會。然而，她卻因為對於藝術理念的堅持、個人作品的重視，以及個人創作自主權的捍衛，始終無法找到合適的畫廊合作伙伴。那時身為好友的我，一方面憂慮她個人的經濟問題，一方面打從心裡佩服她對於作品以及創作理念的執著。她是不為錢而創作的，她很像一匹馳騁於原野的駿馬，一心尋求志同道合的伯樂。或許曲高和寡，孤峰頂上，總是孤獨陪伴的多。然而如果放棄個人理念，就等於失去了創作的價值，於是她無畏經濟條件的困頓，在藝術創作道路上毅然孤行，繼續潛藏於自己的知識之海。她博覽群書，儼然是一位精神貴族，再將精通的東西哲學思想轉化成創作的能量與靈感，發展多元的創作主題與風格。儘管生活條件的嚴苛，她卻從不被利益沖昏了頭，儘管她情感豐沛，卻也有理性且敏銳的思維，身為一位藝術家，她知道真正需要捍衛的價值是自己的創作，而且她不妥協，二十年來如一日。這是Jo的藝術家性格。
A Shiny Pearl Hidden in the Depths of the Deep Blue Sea
Vincent Lin General Manager, Chini Gallery
I ’ve known Jo for a long time, and often joke that we were fated to meet. I think back to the 90s when she was a single Taiwanese girl, struggling alone in faraway London, England. She used her paintbrush to overcome her homesickness as she struggled against straitened economic circumstances and racial discrimination, silently enduring all grievances and unjustness cast her way. She cut a slight, proud figure in her aloofness, seen most often with either paintbrush or cigarette in her hand. She was constantly painting, pouring all the words she hadn’t yet said or the words she didn’t have the opportunity to say into her canvases, passing the better half of her time mired in silence; twenty years have gone by since then.
Within these two decades, she both started and finished her Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art, and went on to achieve her PhD from Falmouth School of Art. Owing to her exquisite creative talent, she was then made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art. It was around this time that she began to attract the attention of international galleries, who one after another called on her, seeking opportunities to collaborate. However, due to her firm commitment to her personal artistic principles, the value she placed on her own works and also her desire to safeguard her creative autonomy and integrity, she was never able to find a suitable gallery to work alongside. As her good friend, I was at once worried about her personal financial problems, but also admired her utter devotion to her work and creative principles from the bottom of my heart. She does not create for the sake of earning money: she is a free spirit, and seeks only the appreciation of like-minded souls. Perhaps it is simply that difficult songs find few singers. Those who stand on the pinnacles are always accompanied first by their loneliness. However, if you let go of your personal principles, then the true value of art is lost. Jo never feared economic troubles or that the artistic road she travelled was a lonely one, but, instead, continued, ever subsumed in the sea of her own knowledge. She read extensively and attained a kind of spiritual nobility, and then transformed the philosophical concepts she studied so assiduously into creative energy and inspiration. From this she developed her many creative themes and styles. No matter how harsh her living conditions were, her head was never muddled by lures of profit – despite her own emotional nature, Jo is an acute, rational thinker. As an artist, she knew that the true value lay with her creative vision, and she has been uncompromising in defending its integrity for twenty years. This is Jo’s artistic character.
In my opinion, Jo’s artworks have a captivating quality. The pure blue world of her Pigment series has the mystery of the seas, but also the limitless vastness of the skies. The grandeur of the pieces touches the soul of viewers, and represents a striving for spiritual balance and tranquillity. Her Tai Chi series, done in oil paints, are, conversely, an expression of the equilibrium that is to be found in dynamism, since unrestrained expression contains within it a balance and a symmetry. Her pencil drawings display a concise artistry expressed in just a few elegant lines: pieces which sometimes brings a smile to the face, or sometimes leaves one pondering their meaning. I sometimes sit before one of Jo’s pieces, and find that as I sit, quietly watching, time has flown by. Jo’s works themselves have so much to say that I cannot myself describe it. Yet, after viewing a while, I find myself strangely moved as though they have touched my very heart. Jo’s works have never been very commercial, she sings to her own tune. When she meets someone who marches to the same beat, they will become instant friends and the relationship will only grow deeper with time. In the age of modern art, which forever claims to be pushing the boundaries and yet the works produced seem ever more similar in style, Jo’s creative vocabulary is unique. However, behind the distinctiveness of her creations there lies a sincerity and candidness that is truly moving. To create her pigment works, Jo dusted each individual layer by hand onto the canvas, never daring to entrust the work to another and never stinting on the work. By the time the works were done, her hands themselves had been transformed into another blue artwork, so drowned were they in the blue poison. When viewers enter into the azure world of Jo’s None-Space, they will encounter pure, honest truth, as though they wander at their ease through a wilderness, breathing in the free air. They leave both unable and unwilling to forget: this is Jo’s artistic style.