The 85 New Wave Art Movement was an important intellectual and artistic movement in Chinese society, for that is when artists began eagerly examining the past in their quest for improvement. In 1986, Ye Yongqing, Zhang Xiaogang, and Mao Xuhui, established the Southwest Artists Group and began their experiments in a new form of art called the New Image style, becoming an influential force in the 85 New Wave Art Movement.
In 1987, Ye Yongqing began to experiment by applying various art idioms to different mediums. Ye mentioned 'I can't find the best method by which art idioms may support and connect with 'painting'. When selecting a theme for my painting, I favor articles which are most familiar and most dear to me. As to how I go about it, I usually only think about the creative process and the question of what materials to use for my painting.' This aspect of his creative mind allows him to keep his individuality regarding painting idiom. Although his style of art is based on Western religious painting, Cubism, and Surrealism, he pays close attention to the 'reality' around him. In Anxieties Add to the Woes, the artist distorts the face of the human figure in a Cubist manner. 'He imposed both the front and profile images on a single figure. The main focus is not to seek a three-dimensional expression, but to create a special feeling of concern. Based on this concern, the artist is able to convey a kind of indescribable melancholy - a kind of sorrowful love for life - to every viewer.' (Yong Qing - China in the Eye of Scholar Artist, Wang Lin, p. 3)
The artist also sought to add a sense of contradiction and confusion to his painting by incorporating the background of mountains and rocks, together with painting, collages, and a wealth of configurations and diagrams derived from different artistic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. Similar to the Jesus depicted in Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, the wide open eyes of the figure situated in the centre convey a sense of unspeakable anxiety. The artist placed a book with a dash of red on the figure's lap to remind viewers of the relationship between religion and reality. The time this work was produced was carefully marked in a conspicuous location, in the same manner that an art museum verifies the date of an important artwork. The long river of time seems to halt at this moment, and a sense of unease, impatience, helplessness, and confusion is detected. The tall red chimney and the intrusive red arrow serve to lengthen the two-dimensional composition. The figure in the painting is already gradually fading against the invasive red color which offends the eye, seemingly leaving viewers with more questions and a dissolving sense of reality.
'The style of Ye Yongqing's artistic idiom tends towards an expressive verse of symbolism. He reveals to us a sick and fragile reality.'
-Lu Peng, Yi Dan, Chinese Modern Art History, 1979-1989, Chapter 8.