gummi Chandelier ii in detail

gummi Chandelier ii in detail
Inside the gummi bear Chandelier Jr.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

New York City journey II

A visitor.

I spent a summer in NYC studying English while I was 17. My eldest sister was working on her PhD in NYU at the time. It was a liberating summer which rooted my fond memory of Manhattan. Returned to Manhattan again several times in my adult life, I grew to love Queens for its humble scenes and the cutting edge art venues.

PS1 is my must visit and every trip I was blown away by the artists/works they shown. It is my charging and challenging station, never fail to question me what contemporary art is and where I want my artwork to be.

Socrates Sculpture Park is the second on the list. It fulfilled my wildest dream that emerging artists can also have a space and opportunity to create public art. Snow was deep, we carefully trekked through the park; this place worth our 20 minute walk from the subway station in 30 degree wind and getting our boots wet.

This is a lovely piece named "Argyle" by Daniele Frazier. Look at how the colors on the sides create this very flat shadow, so 2D and 3D at the same time. Marvelously standing in snow against the busy skyline. Thumbs up, Artist!

Another piece that fed my appetite, "Sponge Piece for Socrates" by Jory Rabinovitz. Yes, made of sea sponges and concrete, metal. NICE! It is innovation and originality. Also, it turned out that there is a floor element that was buried by the snow.

And David M. Scanavino's “16 ft. Rope in Three Positions: (catenary, taut, and coil).” The impressions left by the rope on concrete shaped these three pieces. Smart and good looking, as art should be!

It was as joyous as winning a lotto when we walked into Ursula von Rydingsvard's exhibition at Sculpture Center.
You know once a while you run into a master sculptor's work, all you want to do is to curl up right next to it, sleep inside it, touch, rub, lean on it or lay on it. I lingered, and while nobody is watching, I laid inside this oceanic tidal mouth "Droga"! Ahhhhh... the ceder aroma, soft like Ursula's voice, I float on top of marks left by her...
In a side room, we discovered this "Ocean Floors." "Breath came out of one's life" was what I felt when I first encountered this piece.

 Look at the layers and how she "scooped" the cedar. Mark by mark, chisel by chisel, the texture is just magnificent. After finishing my cardboard pit in Bisbee, I just love the shape in this scale. Thank you, Ursula!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

New York City journey I

Feb. 2011

Visited NYC to install a piece at Broadway Gallery, plus visiting friends and some of my favorite art spaces.

Work first. Spend a few days installing the work, a series of wall sculptures in the shape of barnacle clusters with vignettes of islander lifestyle inside, lit by led lights. Mom's calligraphy studies was the background on the wall. This is a piece about the encrusted memory of my childhood in Taiwan, an island country where ocean strongly influence every aspect of our lives. I could not remember a moment when we didn't have the sea in our mind, the temperature of the ocean, breeze and typhoons from the sea, the animals in it, the tides, the smell, color, texture and sound of the water.

Collaborator choreographer Malini Srinivasan came for a preview. This was our first time meeting each other. I knew right away, I have been very lucky to have found her. Here is Malini peeking into the sculptures

We saw a sneak preview of what she has in mind for the performance. Prior to my arrival, I asked Malini if she could choreograph a short dance to the concept of islander culture and fishing villages.

Swimming, nature and ocean sound informed this dance. Malini is a third-generation Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer and teacher. On the opening night, gallery visitors and all of us had the privilege to see her in action. It was a beautiful piece and quite a meditation for all of us, as the gallery owner Abra­ham Lubel­ski put it, "it is the same feeling when one watches sunset or sunrise. It is subtle yet powerful!"   

I had 6 days to locate a videographer for documenting the live performance after I arrived in NYC. Pulling out all the contacts from facebook, I found old friends from Calarts who had moved back to east coasts. Universe showered me with goof fortune once again as friends reached out helping me locating a videographer! Performance and video artist Run Shayo documented the whole performance. Next day, I picked up the DVD and set up the video projection so viewers can see what happened on the opening night.

This has been a growing experience for me. Some last minute emergencies where a cable was missing or a contact did not come thru. At the end, all turned out to be perfect. I was able to put a complicated piece together and learned again, there is no strange land, there are artists who are ready to be friends everywhere, well, at least in NYC! Thank you, NYC!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Bisbee Journey III

January 22, 2011

Three weeks is a long time to germinate lots of seeds. I made friends with local artists, grew to love the land and the people and animals, settled in & felt right at home in the housing SCP provided (Thanks to Ed and Kelly Briggs!), learned where to get what I want, did a presentation at Trickhouse Live event curated by artist Noah Saterstrom in Tucson's Casa Libre en la Solana (and had a wonderful night with local artists), and went for nature walks with Pete's family. All while I juggled between the pit and a series of sculptures for a NYC show in Feb.. 

Finally it was born, not just the pit, but a beautiful moment made possible by participating audiences.
Here is the map projection of the 15' diameter Lavender Pit, titled "The next open door."

White portion on the right is the building across from my studio. Everyday at sunset, windows in that building reflect the copper shimmer from the sun, telling a story only a copper rich town can understand. I had cultivated my skills making little houses, boulders and cactus out of cardboard. It was fun!
This purple rock was inspired by a visit to filmmaker and mixed media artist Rebecca Barten's studio. Rebecca turned me into a mineral crazy and I discovered the unpredictability of geometry on cardboard!

For unknown reason, I love this gold rock. CSP Executive Director Melissa Holden brought her seedpods which is perfect match of colors and forms. Good eyes, Melissa!

The lampshade featured letter "B" was modeled after the "B" on Bisbee's hill which was lit for Christmas and New Year. The pit is also filled with locally found natural elements and treasures from Bisbee's dangerously addictive (luckily affordable) antique stores.

Fine moments of the pit installation:

A tall and slender man showed up at the reception. His name is Paul. Paul introduced himself to me and handed me this postcard.
I asked him if this was his stories, he nodded with tears in his eyes. "It is beautiful, Paul! Thank you!" I found a spot between two little houses where red Christmas lights shine and stood the card there. He then gave me a small sage stem, we used it as offering for the spirit of his late husband. I think his late husband had brought him to Bisbee and here to my installation. Thank you, Paul! This piece is complete because of you.

Later Ben (Pete's son) and Roman (Rebecca Barten and David Sherman's son) came with their hike finds, pretty rocks, leaves, branches and Ben's personal collections of scorpions!
Kids are inventive where they locate their contributions. They can see what adults don't see. I find Roman's placement of leaves very poetic!

Copper Donkey is a tribute to donkeys who worked deep in the mines in old days. There is a copper man statue standing tall in the city of Bisbee. I think donkeys need to be honored too. Thanks to Laurie McKenna's contribution of her chickens!

Of course, a mining town must have trucks and machinery. This section was probably inspired equally by Pete Seeger's Mrs. Clara Sullivan's Letter as well as the operations in Bisbee.
 To see more and larger images, please visit my website page for this installation:

Thank you, Bisbee!

Bisbee Journey II

January 3, 2011

Good friend Pete Goldlust, also a member at Central School Project, helped me settled in in my studio. I will be working in this 100+ year old building for the next three weeks.

Said goodbye to husband in Tucson airport, I went back to the studio, laid out all tools, getting ready to detach from California life and start an Arizona one.

Wondered to a local restaurant and located my favorite sources of materials to build the pit: cardboard boxes of potato fritters! In a week, I have this:
Another week, the pit grew:
It took a shape of a coliseum which inspired me of a positive link to the Lavender Pit. In the mean time, I met many local artists who opened their arms welcoming me. My heart felt warm, wanting to spin a promising image out of this pit. Therefore, another decision was made, this shall be a collaborative and participatory project where local residents have their voices heard.

Bisbee Journey I

January 2011 I traveled to Bisbee, AZ as a visiting artist. I stayed for three weeks, created a site specific installation, befriended many great artists and fully inhaled the Bisbee creative energy. Here is a brief record of the journey.

Jan. 3, 2011

Husband and I drove to Naco, a neighboring town which borders Mexico.  I had intention to build an installation related to border issues before I arrived. However, the tall dark fence running all the way up the majestic mountain crushed my inspiration.
Dark energy looming around here, cried out as innocent lives wasted. As an immigrant myself, this is an arrow aiming at my chest. Chimneys from "the other side" emitted smoke to keep January cold at bay; symbols of warm and cozy homes turned into a picture of West Bank.
Heavy border police force is an odd image in this beautiful landscape. Mountain ranges become a little angry voice in comparison to human division.

On the way back to Bisbee, we discovered Bisbee food co-op, that was a surprising joy!
Next to the food co-op sits the (in)famous Lavender Pit, one of the open pit mines that made Bisbee one of the largest towns between San Francisco and New Orleans in early days.
Mining industries bring about complicated political atmosphere, especially when they leave earth a huge hole that oozes liquids. It is as devastated to the local ecology as magnificent aesthetically. Have I not know this pit is man-made, I'd assume mother nature created another marvelous landscape. It is beautiful with alluring charms: the muscle of the slops, the scales, the colors of the minerals that floats and it's response to sunlight.

I decided at the moment, I would like to attempt creating a pit on my own, one that reflects the colors and history without ecological price to pay.