East Meets West Art Exhibition
The concept show “East Meets West” was conceived by Lin Fei Fei. Last year was the first show and the 2nd annual show opens July 1st at the Jolie
Gallery in the shenhe district of Shenyang China.
One of the things I love about Art is; its ability to break down barriers – ignore rules – and bring people together. And that’s exactly what Lin Fei Fei is doing with this show. She selected a number of Artists working in the Sacramento Area and provided them with the opportunity to show their work in another country. She literally packed the works of seventeen artists into suitcases and flew them back to her hometown in China.
I think it’s a fabulous idea for a show and was honored to speak with Lin Fei Fei and a couple of Artists who are in the Show.
Ryan: How did you begin working with Ye Qing and the Jolie Gallery?
Lin Fei Fei: I’ve shown my work at Jolie Gallery many times and since moving to the United States in 2015, I learned that the Gallery had a new Executive Manager. I got to know Ye Qing and realized that we were about the same age and had a lot in common. I told her about my idea for the show and we decided to make this exhibition and annual event. Ye Qing is a very professional woman and has been very patient and supportive of this project from the get go.
The show will begin with Sacramento artists and we will try and spread the show to other cities in the future. Ye Qing and I have worked so hard on this exhibition and we’re so excited to host this event together as we support artists worldwide.
What inspired you to start this show?
When I first moved to America I didn’t know anyone and tried to meet people in the art community. I was introduced to Gabriel Sanford and he and I quickly became friends. Through Gabriel I met many artists and began to think about putting on a show that could merge the two cultures of America and China. It has always been my dream to put on a show like this and I think it will be an excellent opportunity for so many of these artists to get international exposure beyond what they could have possibly imagined just a year ago.
Also, when I read the autobiography of Peggy Guggenheim I was really inspired to try and help as many of my fellow artists as I could. She was really got me thinking about ways that I could make this show a reality.
This is the 2nd annual “East meets West” show. How was the 1st show received?
The first show went very well and exceeded most of our expectations which was one of the big reasons why we’re having another show this year. We had over a hundred people attend the grand opening and professors from local universities helped spread the word as well. Last year’s show was primarily Asian artists who were heavily influenced by American and western culture and had experience studying abroad, so it made sense to bring more western artists into the fold in 2017.
How do you think this year’s show will compare to last years?
I think this year’s show will definitely have more attractions than last year. Last year we only had a few international artists but this year we invited 17 artists from California. Also, there are many kinds of social media have been involved with this event both in Shenyang, China and Sacramento. Jolie Gallery has contacted the American consulate in Shenyang to further develop and facilitate a relationship between the gallery and America. Everything was a little bit challenging at first, but we’re all excited to learn and make this show an annual event.
Is it difficult to host such a long-distance show while also focusing on your own work?
I’ve discovered just how difficult this project would be as I was putting it together. In the beginning, I thought this would be an interesting event to do but I never considered myself a curator as I’ve always focused on my own artwork and career. My goal in America is only to make art but obviously with taking on a project like this I’ve had to learn how to balance my time and arrange things better. Even though it is a lot of work and stress, it makes me feel alive.
Any plans to host for Chinese artists in America as well?
I’m so glad you asked this question. I would love to do this to help Chinese artists get more exposure and international recognition. I’m always amazed by the change and development of both life and the art market in China. Since the 80’s Chinese artists have definitely had more opportunities to go outside of China to study or travel. The curiosity of the Chinese people is increasing and we want to learn more about foreign culture, either through welcoming international guests to China or by visiting other countries. If the timing is right in the future I would love to work with someone to build an art residency studio to support young artists and allow them opportunities to visit America and learn about the art culture here. Speaking from my personal experience, I know how much an experience like this will mean to artists.
That’s awesome. I really respect what you’re doing and I have no doubt you’ll meet with success. Now let’s check in with a couple of the Artists in the show.
How long have you been doing mixed media pieces? And what inspired you to start?
My first collage/mixed media piece was back in my college days, being about 18 years back. While taking an art course at college, I learned that not only was my professor an inspiring teacher, she was an extraordinary and eye-opening collage artist. I was amazed by her creations. From a distance her art looked like abstract oil paintings, but as I moved closer I realized that they were brilliant constructions; each painting consisted of many pieces which, together, told a story. This is when I began feverishly creating my stories. As an assignment I began working with collage art, which opened a door when my professor encouraged me to submit my art, in hopes that they were chosen to be displayed in the college art gallery. I was picked! Since then I have explored with different mediums, although, a few years back, I found myself being lured back into the world of collage. It’s a continual journey- discovering through exploration as I create piece after piece…after piece. Whether the next creation is a collage, a painting, or a drawing, I approach each new piece with an awareness of the unexpected.
Can you describe briefly what you mean by: “Discovery and evolution influence your work”?
Life is discovering. I try to keep that wonder which drives me to discover. I thrive off of finding an alternative purpose for objects that I find in alleys, sidewalks, and dumpsters. Where I live, alleys could be littered with treasures to my eye. By placing new purpose to these found objects I bring them together in one collective form. Life also means evolving, inevitably so, which for me means that when I begin a new protect I always know what medium I am in the mood for, though, each step thereafter, and remains a mystery. I let my art evolve, and embrace the change. It’s a free flowing process.
What’s the long term goal for your work?
Oh dear, where to begin…?! I’d love to create a platform where I can utilize my entrepreneurial mind and passion for art, so that not only myself but others can make a healthy living – collaboratively. To impact and add more greatness into the world through art, helping others along the way, while continually discovering myself along the process of constant evolution.
I have many ideas…Constantly brewing aching flourish, living wildly.
What inspired you to create the “Cargo” pieces?
“Cargo” was inspired by the tubes I used to send some large drawings on a pre-paid drawing tour of about 2 years. They fit exactly within a larger tube with makes them perfect for shipping, hence Cargo.
What is the installation intended to convey?
The pieces are installed perpendicular to the wall using the typical eyehooks and wire normally found on the back of a painting. I feel this flips the whole idea of what a painting is, inside out, but keeps faithful to the language of what a painting contains, a surface, canvas, wire for hanging. By having them perpendicular to the wall we can see both surfaces of each round and in total the visual effect is
enchanted by the shadows cast from each piece. It creates an interaction with the viewer because they have to move to see the whole piece.
What reaction are you expecting from the show and do you plan to attend?
I’m expecting a favorable reaction to the show. And I am eager to see the work in China as I will be traveling to the show.
How did you begin working with the combination of wood and metal?
I have always been drawn to natural materials. Over the years I’ve loved to draw with charcoal, batik with silk and beeswax, sculpt with clay, build with wood, and most recently work with metals. There is value and quality and sensuality. Natural materials look and feel and smell like something we intrinsically know. Wood and metal have this wonderful compatibility of soft and hard, warm and cool. They balance each other out.
What’s your process for creating the “Resonant Round” pieces?
Resonant Rounds are inspired by meditations on balance and harmony, and I know the lengthy
processes required to create them to be meditations themselves. Draw, cut, file, sand, stain, burnish, patina, finish – I created the very first rounds by making a compass out of a long piece of wood to draw circles, used scissors to cut thin aluminum, and glued the aluminum shapes directly on the wood. There were three, each 8ft. The next time I went smaller, 3ft, and routed beds in the wood for the metal shapes to fit snugly, using a shop bot. Metals might be aluminum, copper, brass, or steel. Now I have the laser cutter which allows very intricate drawings cut in the wood, and opens many doors of possibility.
How do you feel about the overall concept of the “East Meets West” show? And what would you consider a successful showing?
Well I think it is always good for artists to show to broad audiences, and it is a very special opportunity to share our work internationally. Any successful show creates connections in our human experience, and as far as I can tell, it’s already well on the way – thanks to Lin Fei Fei and her vision.
How long have you been a sculptor? What motivated you to start?
I’ve never really scene myself as a sculptor or a painter or really even an artist, I just make things sometimes it’s a sculpture that goes on the wall sometimes it’s a painting that goes on the ground. I try to work with no boundaries just create what I have a need to create.
Can you describe the influence behind both; “Pink Ashes” and “Little House”?
Every day I have to go to my day job because art doesn’t always pay the bills. And I live in a part of town the city likes to forget exist. On my way to work I see the most beautiful colors and people just trying to survive another day. Mothers doing their best to raise children dressed in rags happily playing knowing of no other type of life. These things inspired the colors the shapes the energy of this work
What is your long term vision for your work?
It’s really always the same one to have a complete release of what’s inside me that I have a need to get out. And to make an impact with what I do to somehow cause any type of reaction make people feel, even if that is to feel disgust. Our world feels like it’s going numb I want to affect that in some small way. And lastly to create something that sees the world that takes me places allowing me to widen my canvas making it larger farther reaching.
How long have you been a photographer?
I’ve been a photographer since I was 12.
What was the biggest challenge while photographing the decline of your own grandparents?
One of the biggest challenges was creating images that would epitomize their memories before they forgot them.
What is the message you hope to relay with the images?
My message is about how people currently age in America and are cared for; as well as to take the time to capture the memories of bygone eras before they are forgotten forever.
Can you describe the process used to create your “Lovemad” photos?
The technical process for “lovemad” was fairly straightforward: A couple was photographed on a white background using a single light source. The only direction I gave them was to engage each other both with intimate affection and with more aggression – one person pulling away as the other pulled them back. The couple I worked with for this series was in the beginning stage of their relationship so I had to keep reminding them that we needed more aggressive postures, but in the end we got the full range of physical expression.
For the single figure images I worked with a dancer. Dancers have a relationship with their bodies that is unlike that of anyone else. Depending on the environment under which they train, it can become a very tortured relationship. Eating disorders are common as they try to attain some outward ideal of physical perfection, and most dancers regularly perform with physical injuries that would hobble the average person (pulled muscles, broken toes, etc.). But dancers are thinking with their bodies, using every element of their physical being to express their art and ideas and not dancing is not an option. I tried to engage all the dichotomies of this struggle in the dancer images (“the rhythm of vision is a dancer” 1 & 2)
During editing in Photoshop, the process was an elaborate one of layering different images, desaturating to get a tone of dried blood and accentuating elements of the composition that supported the idea of “lovemadness”
Would you say there is a message in the work? If so can you explain?
This body of work was created for a one-night only exhibition curated by the Retrograde Collective in Sacramento. The theme for the show was “Patterns of Disorder” and each selected artist was asked to interpret the theme of mental
disorder in any way they desired. I have personally seen people driven to complete insanity, and also made sane, by love. I have been on both sides of this situation. Most of my art is about the relationship we have with our physical form, the way in which our own body liberates and limits us. To explore the way in which another body liberates and limits us was an easy step to take for me.
What would you consider a successful “East Meets West” show?
I would love for all of the submitted images to go live with someone who loves them! When I traveled Europe, I was continually amazed that every home I visited was filled with artwork that reflected their personal tastes and views of the person living there. It would be an honor to think that this work was performing that function in Shenyang.
And since we now live in a connected world, it would be lovely to hear from people who saw the work and were moved or inspired by it. Probably the best thing about being an artist is being able to interact with people directly through the language of color and form. I’ve had many people reach out to me to tell me that my work inspired them create art, and for me, being creative is the best part of being human.
How long have you been painting?
I’ve only been serious about 12 years.
What drives you to create – Your biggest influence?
Of all the mediums I’ve tried, nothing feels the same, or in my opinion is more enduring than painting. I create because I enjoy it and I enjoy the problem solving aspect of painting. I feel that certain memories about my life are meant to anchor me, to keep me from drifting into severe depression and fear. Other memories, if clung to desperately, over time, will petrify me. And yet memory, the faculty of recall, is constantly under threat from new experiences. This change, this faculty of recall, is where my process of painting comes in.
As far biggest influence goes, stylistically, I’m all over the place, so it would be hard to pin down. Personally, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the love an encouragement of my parents and fellow artists.
I notice in your “Opulence” paintings the figures have no eyes. What does this symbolize?
One of the first edicts the Chinese Communist Party issued in 1949 was the transformation of Chinese currency. To give faith to the people and show a “Prosperous way forward,” Mao Zedong removed the faces of Emperors, Philosophers, Poets, Artists and any reference to the China’s imperial, non-communist past from all currency and replaced with his own image. The use of currency is a very subtle yet highly effective psychologically way to show ones power over another and can carry a double message.
I have combined the faces, bodies of famous Han Chinese Celebrities, with that of the people on the Jiao currencies, and removed the eyes to take away the identity of the people in my compositions. I wanted to juxtapose the rapid growth alongside the equally rapid degradation of the environment in China and its’ people.