Marlene Tseng Yu was born in Taiwan in 1937 and came to the U.S. in 1963. From 1969 to 2007, she lived and worked in SoHo, New York City, and in 2008, opened a studio in Long Island City. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei in 1960, and her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1967. She taught art at Denver University in Colorado in 1967 to 1968. Since 1994, she has been on the Advisory Committee of the Fine Arts Department of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since 1995, she has curated exhibitions for the new art movement, “Forces of Nature." Marlene is Founder and Curator of the Rain Forest Art Foundation (2001 to present). In 2014, Marlene established her own museum in Shreveport, Louisiana, the Marlene Yu Museum.
As of June 30, 2019, Marlene Tseng Yu has had 81 solo exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and the Far East, and numerous international group shows.
Marlene’s art has been reviewed in 9 languages in more than 300 publications, by numerous art magazines, newspapers, TV, and radio shows, such as ARTFORUM, Art in America, Art News, World Journal, and Barbara Walters’ Today Show.
Marlene has received many awards for achievement in the arts. In 2005, she received the first “Muse” Fine Arts Award in the Muralist Paintings category at the inaugural ARTV Awards in Las Vegas.
For more than 50 years of creation, Marlene has completed 4800 paintings, of which over 1000 are in public and private collections. Marlene is able to do commission work according to requirements of large-scale architectural projects..
The beauty of the universe changes with time. As the days pass and the seasons change, the sky, earth, mountains and rivers repeat in patterns that are never really quite the same. In my search for the variations of the many faces in nature, I have found that nature provides an infinite source of inspiration for artistic expression. I love the many elements in our environment, be they as broad as the horizon beyond or small as cells under the microscope. In this vast setting, I hope to capture the spirit of the universe, its rhythm and movements, its quiet and angry moods, its colors and forms...
With the traditional Chinese and Western art training, together with my own experiments, I have sought to create techniques that can fully express my ideas and feelings. The techniques may vary greatly from painting to painting, as to embody the scope of my expression. The reference to nature is the focus of all my paintings. I have found that painting in water media - acrylic demands an absolute control of the medium to achieve the various effects, textures, and transparencies. The scale of the painting is a challenge, but not a limitation for me. To produce on canvas or paper what I have in my mind, my ideas and feelings on the universe, is a great challenge.
Marlene Tseng Yu, September 16, 1968
Even after thirty years of work on the Abstraction in Nature Series, my art continues to focus on the beauty of nature, calling for appreciation and awareness of what needs to be done to preserve our environment. I hope my efforts in the Environmental Green Movement in art prove to be substantial and that my art is both timely and timeless.
—Marlene Tseng Yu, January 16, 1998
The Glacier Melting Series started in 1965. It has continued through 2008, for it is my favorite subject. Without my realizing it, the series reflects what has become one of the most important issues today, as human lifestyles and habits increase global warming and cause glaciers to melt rapidly. I hope through my art to convey the urgent message—earth is in danger, please let us protect it together.
—Marlene Tseng Yu, April 22, 2008