Dr Yan Wang Preston is a British-Chinese artist interested in the complex connections between landscape, migration and identity. Often ambitious in both physical and intellectual intensity, Preston’s work integrates documentary and landscape photography with land and performance art. Her major projects include: ‘Mother River’ (2010-2014), for which she photographed the entire 6,211km Yangtze River in China at precise 100km intervals on a large-format film camera; and ‘Forest’ (2010-2017), for which she investigated the politics of urban nature by photographing transplanted old trees in new Chinese cities.
Preston’s work has won major international awards such as the First Prize, Professional Commission, Syngenta Photography Award (2017), Hundred Heroines, the Royal Photographic Society (2018), and the First Prize, Professional Landscape, Sony World Photography Awards (2019).
Solo exhibitions of Preston’s work have been shown at venues such as the 56th Venice Biennale (Italy, 2015), Chongqing China Three Gorges Museum (China, 2015), Wuhan Art Museum (China, 2015), Gallery of Photography Ireland (2017), Impressions Gallery (UK, 2017) and Open Eye Gallery (UK, 2019). Important group shows include Dubai Photo (2016), Syngenta Photography Award exhibition (UK, 2017), 40 Years of Contemporary Chinese Photography (Shenzhen, China, 2018), Peer to Peer (Liverpool & Shanghai, 2019/20), Ten by Ten, Fotofest, (Houston, USA , 2020), and The Art of Trees at Gund Gallery, Ohio (USA, 2021).
Preston’s photobooks ‘Forest’ and ‘Mother River’ are both published by Hatje Cantz in 2018. Her work has also been featured in numerous journals, newspapers and online platforms, such as The Guardian, BJP, Irish Times and CCTV. Her work has been collected by institutions such as Wuhan Art Museum in China, Syngenta, Swatch, as well as private collectors worldwide. Her UK print sales is represented by Messums London.
Preston received a PhD in Photography from the University of Plymouth in 2018. Aside of her artist career, she is a senior lecturer in photography at the University of Huddersfield, UK.