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Exhibition Review

If one has not met Sherie Rose, please visit the Gateway Gallery and observe her in her unnatural habitat. Sherie, in actuality is the alter ego of Senior Painting Major Flora Choi, whose performance piece; Deluded Reality: Imagination Infringements of Sherie Rose took place on Thursday, March 11th. The gallery houses an octagonal dwelling composed of eight doors, in which Sherie works at her typewriter. The performance however is not only meant to be viewed. The audience is invited to interact with Sherie and get to know this intriguing alter ego. She is a bit shy, and skittish yet welcome to questions, she seems on many levels confused and there is a theme of displacement in her existence. Adopted from Korea into an English family and at the same time searching again to build a new family, Sherie seems to be in a struggle to find a place to belong to. The gallery in a sense is another example of her displacement. She is quite unsure why she is there and for what purpose. She has admitted that she would rather be somewhere else, and she is a little suspicious about her predicament. To one observer she asked if he is one of “them” who put her in the “octagon,” referring to her dwelling installed in the gallery. While one’s response normally would be “no,” in actuality the audience is partially responsible for Sherie’s trapped existence since the space was constructed for their viewing and interactive pleasure. The exhibit is and interactive experience, in that you are able to personally interact with the project. Through this interaction the viewer is brought directly into Sherie’s world, which is full of oddities and “delusions” about what may be going on around her. There is a direct recognition of her other self, Flora, whose presence is indicated in a video in the show, and Sherie recognizes Flora, although is somewhat confused at her identity. In that sense it is unclear whether Sherie is supposed to exist in her own world that the viewer is invited to discover, or if some part of her is also aware of the rest of the world. In her world we talks about the people close to her, but the only “people” from her world that we see in the tangible sense is her stuffed bear. It is highly recommended to visit Sherie and learn about her strange new world, which includes personal written and photographic documentations, obsessive-compulsive tendencies and phobias. Despite her shy nature, she seems lonely so try to get to know her and ask her questions. I may also add that it is amusing to provoke Sherie, so visit the Gateway Gallery and check her schedule which is posted to see when she will be in. Get there before April 2nd and prepare for an interesting interaction.

Jenny Robinson 2010

The current ASA exhibition in Brown’s Rosenberg gallery not only discusses the literal and psychological hunger artists have towards their art, it displays a varied spectrum of mediums and subject matter while at the same time correlating to the subject of Asia.  There are examples of work made in fiber, garment design, illustration, painting, paper-cut, drawing, and silkscreen, of which I will only describe a few.

Son Young Kwon’s large silkscreen stretched on panels entitled Americanize, speaks of the spread of American consumer culture onto Eastern culture through mass media, fast food, and electronics with logos of Disney, McDonald’s and Apple.  The construction of the prints stretched on screens that are hinged together are reminiscent the display used with Asian brush painting.  Thus in a sense the American images are replacing the traditional images and practices of the past.

On the flip side, aspects of Asian consumer products are also shown in Jennifer Tam’s felted sculptures of two white dogs barking at one another, entitled Mitsy and Tina Have a Discussion.  The piece is facetious in the manner that the two small, white dogs appear to be fiercely barking at one another with angrily contorted expressions. Yet they both appear to be very pristine well kept dogs in the softness of the white fur that is rendered and the pink ribbons on their ears.  It appears to have an aspect of the cutesy quality of Asian consumer products, which transform functional utilitarian objects such as pencils and rulers into cartoonish and frilly objects with tassels.

Further into dark humor, Max Lewis displays a series ten illustrative ink and gold leaf drawings in a narrative of the gradual fall of a golden-hearted young boy.  The series is entitled The Dark Forest.  The boy has his heart ripped out, and his tempted by a devil, which consumes his soul.  This series displays a stylistic look perhaps reminiscent of Japanese manga comics.

Another piece discusses the blending of two cultures, specifically Korea and Japan through the ethnicity in the garment piece by Yeji Byun entitled When Shibori meets Hanbok.  The garment displays a layered floor length skirt and jacket with long sleeves that is cut short at the torso and tied in the front, the style of the Korean traditional hanbok.  However, the fabric is dyed in the Japanese practice of Shibori.  The piece may represent a biracial lineage, the cultural influence of Japan when during their occupation in Korea, or simply a blending of the two cultures.

Overall the current ASA exhibition was successful in the sense that it displayed a variety of mediums and aspects of Asian culture.   It is highly recommended that one should visit the show before it is taken down on February 8th.

Jenny Robinson 2010

A few days ago, the Asian Student Alliance (ASA) finished putting up a show called “Hunger: The Artist’s Insatiable Nature” in the Rosenberg Gallery at MICA. I acted as curator – a first for me, despite having a Curatorial Studies concentration.

The concept of Hunger came to mind almost immediately since most ASA events center around food. The club had been holding these events for some time when I joined last year. As former ASA officer Julie Cheng told me, food is a way to bring people together – an easy and enjoyable way to introduce people to another culture.

The feeling of hunger is maybe the one thing all artists have in common. Whether you paint, draw, sculpt, perform, most likely you’re making art because you have to: it’s the fourth basic need besides eating, breathing, and sleeping. When you go a long time without creating art, something withers away inside you; and the feeling of fulfillment you get right after making a work of art is not unlike the feeling of being stuffed full after a delicious meal. That feeling doesn’t last forever though, and soon enough you find yourself in the studio again, feeding that undying craving.

All of the pieces I chose for the show had a palpable feeling of excitement and involvement of the heart or mind or both. Some of the pieces spoke of hunger more specifically, for hunger can also appear in art as a particular obsession (for example with a subject or material). However, they were all visually diverse in terms of media and style, and this presented the greatest challenge in curating the show – how to make them cohesive. I felt as if I had been given a handful of magnetic poetry, and I had to make the most pleasing sentence possible instead of a jumble of words. Putting aside inexperience and time constraints, I sincerely hope I did end up saying something pertinent and cohesive.

I felt that this theme of artistic motivation – hunger – was important to address in an art school. Yes, artists are bonded together by this similar desire and need to make art, but only a small percentage of art students actually stay in the studio after graduation. Where does the hunger go? Does it lie dormant, expressing itself whenever it can, or does it die altogether? I, and probably countless others, have a gnawing paranoia that I will fall into the majority here. It would be interesting to try to predict which category the artists in the ASA show will fall into. It’s a poignant fact for art students to face, but this process of natural selection will eventually happen. Perhaps all we can do in the time being is to celebrate hunger while it’s still there.

Jennifer Tam

“Hunger: The Artist’s Insatiable Nature” will be up in the Rosenberg Gallery (2nd floor Brown) until February 8.

“This is natural enough, as the picture lives only through the man who is looking at it.” This is a quote from Pablo Picasso who created a revolution to the world. He may be inspirational but more importantly he is my mentor. When I was raised in S. Korea, many people criticized Picasso for his overrated artist who created works of art which anyone possibly could create. It was hard to believe Picasso’s essence of art because people rather visualize his work than picturing the idea behind it. By profoundly studying his experiences, paintings, and philosophy, he allowed me to open my visionary mind of art which helped me to escape from my restricted cultural background.
Before I discuss about my cultural identity, I want to share my personal meaning of art. I believe the essence and the definition of art is “emotion.” In our today’s perspective of art, everything we see today such as nature, buildings, clothes, and even a piece of an empty water bottle is defined as art. This is due to the affection of the emotion. Emotion causes a physical object to become a subjective idea. Without the emotion, an object such as an empty water bottle is what it is. The water bottle can be defined as a thin layer of plastic material usually formed in cylinder shape. If the emotion invades the logic, it can be defined as soulless that have lost hope in its existence. The subjective meaning can vary by persons by their emotion and causes diverse aesthetic tastes. By their nature of emotion, people choose their personal path which can lead to many different lives. This obviously happens when creating a piece of work. Their decisions to plan and make is the cause of emotion and the outcome of the work is the outcome of the emotion. When the viewer reads the painting,  it triggers the emotion to react in personal ways. The emotion paints the visualization and the visualization paints the emotion. The work of art is not only viewed as the degree of technique but also as an emotional response. However the view of technique can be affected by the emotion but the purpose of work of art is how the viewer’s emotion responds to artist’s emotion that is hidden behind the work. This is my purpose of art. A work of art lives only through the viewer and every life and objects is made to that purpose. People who create works of art do not define them as an only artist but anyone being able to personally interpret the work of art defines them as an artist. Many students in S. Korea have well-built techniques, but lack in ideal and personal interpretation of art. This is one of the problems my culture is facing and this will continue on for future generations due to their strict mind set as well as the fixed art system in S. Korean Art community. These students are potential and ambitious but did not acknowledge to understand the hidden world of art. They considered “excellent techniques” as “good art” and it is true for every artist to consider. However innovations and revolutions does not come from technical elements, but from extensive explorations. Picasso was an excellent technical artist, but his success came from his ideal vision. He traveled beyond the boundaries of visual restrictions and found the treasures of new ideas that have opened up the new visions to the world. This is the element my culture has forgotten and people from all over the world including, Artists, professors, students are traveling to S. Korea and other foreign countries to take action against this problematic condition. This is one of the valuable understanding every artist should be aware of and should take action toward their culture. I as an MICA student, as well as an important individual Artist, will take this opportunity as a chance to bring new idea of art to S. Korea, including countries where they lack the appreciation of true nature of art. Picasso was successful because he has worked toward the subjective idea and his task of bringing new idea to the world. Before you wonder off, ask yourself, what is “your” definition of Art?

by Albert Young-Chan Kim

1st Year Undergraduate at Maryland Institute College of Art

Student Artist and Microcosm member

Chu Seok by Kim Gu Yeon

The day after tomorrow is Chu Seok
Hung a swing
At the playground at the center of town
On the thick branch of a Dong gu tree.

Kids hung on the swing
To ride first
Everyone hung on it.

There are many plays during the Korean thanksgiving, such as kangknagsulle, juldarigi, flying kites, si-lm, and archery. The poem depicts joyful children who want to play with a swing during the thanksgiving. MICA Korean Student Association (KSA) organized an installation of kites to celebrate thanksgiving and to return to the innocence of a child. Every KSA member created at least one kite and draw on the blank side of the kites.

The installation starts from the corner of the building and extends to the second floor, so the kites are flying in the space. Because the kites are facing down at the floor level, people should look up to look the kites. The action is similar to watching actual flying kites on the sky. There is airflow in the building, and the tails of kites moves gently.

The installation was exhibited from November 9th to November 20th 2009.

by David Woo

self and other,
a normality identified up
so high and lofty

self and other,
start in a stomach,
end on dirt

every day, lay
horizontal to
then perpendicular

like a phallus
powerful but goes weak
in the sight of another too bold

love so strong,
tolerance so weak,
oh, celebrated tolerance

where’s the love?
at least respect-
can we have both — chacha?

by Ellice Park

IMG_0031

Danny Knox’s Creation Myth of Peni, in Progress:

“The Peni were once omnipotent beings with the power to create and destroy. Of all their creations they loved Poof most. They created Poof from 3 simple components; they were glitter, love, and the pieces of the earth. Poof was frozen much like a sculpture and unable to move or communicate. It was most important that Poof had emotions and he could feel. The Peni in order to be able to coexist with Poof, gave their powers of creation to the earth of which Poof was created. As a show of gratitude Poof cares for the Peni, who created him and sacrificed themselves for his life….”

Julie Cheng, an undergraduate senior at MICA, is a Fibers major and Experimental Fashion concentrator who creates collections of fashionable female garments. A reoccurring theme throughout her work is the idea of sustainability – that is, reusing materials and never letting anything go to waste. Her trove of materials includes pages from fashion magazines, paper, plastic bags, aluminum cans, and basically anything that is typically wasted in great quantities.

Currently, Cheng is working on her senior thesis. “It’s going to be about accumulation and being green. The garment industry creates so much fabric and fashion, and then when styles go out, it all ends up in the trash. It’s the most wasteful industry and I want to do something about that.”

For Cheng, the relevance of sustainability comes not only from modern American culture, but also from the traditions of her family. She was born in New York, “Flushing, Queens, to be exact,” she says, to parents who immigrated from Taiwan. “My mom is a native Taiwanese, and she grew up on a farm as a very poor countryside girl.” Says Cheng, “When I was growing up, my mom always saved things, especially clothing. She has about five closets of clothes now.”

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What’s in “Lamesa, Texas”? What’s in Lamesa, Texas?

 

Exactly. But things aren’t as they seem.
Emilia Papanicolau, photo senior this year, was part of the recent group show of selected photo works in the Main Building’s Gallery. Her series, “Lamesa, Texas” caught my eye. Rustic colors of the Wild, Wild West–a dusty America bygone but still romanticized and ever alive in pockets of popular culture like the movie Toy Story. Not really animated in life, but like the toys in the movie, but kicking in our minds when we speak of it. Familiarity and foreignness intertwined, the art pieces somehow miss the mark of being “otherly”. Perhaps it’s because we insist on its presentness.
My encounter with Emilia was much like my first and second with “Lamesa, Texas”. Familiar, warm, yet something to dig deeper into, like the link has been set. Perhaps my bias is that like Emilia, I am from Boston with a few close relatives in Texas at one point; that like her, for summers, instead of going to the Cape or Martha’s Vineyard, we’d go to Texas or other places that our neighbors wouldn’t be at. She didn’t have to explain to me that greater Boston has a large Irish and Italian populace, with pockets of Jewish people and hardly any Black folk–at least where we grew up. Yet we never met until now, both being in Baltimore–a city that feels like a hodgepodge of various places in its aesthetics and the variety of peoples in sections of the city. We don’t have to explain these things, much less Red Sox passion or the urban geography.
Lamesa, Texas used to be a favorite place of ice cream, skipping children, family and smiling folk for Emilia. But as she got older, and her grandparents aged, the other community members also grew and went other places. She developed Massachusetts eyes, and looked through these irises on Lamesa. It has some cracks, but daisies grew there. A photograph from the “Lamesa, Texas” portfolio shows that the grass is still green, but there are no people, just a wooden sign. It’s as though a soccer match just broke for the day. Another photograph shows that the windows aren’t blocked up like in Baltimore, but there’s no one to see–just wall, cracked glass, and the dust that tricked in with the wind. It does not feel like a ghost town; perhaps it’s the magic of colors the photographer creates. Every photograph catches shadows yawning. There are traces of people having just stood up two minutes ago, to go to the BBQ at Sherry’s house or the Diary Queen. The sun has moved on, too.
Perhaps our forefathers made such an imprint on the world that when we talk about Americans or Americanism, we are really referring to a bygone America. That America of classic southern belles, proper gentlemen and patriotic senior citizens and children, with an upstanding government and powerful military–is something that may still be true to a certain extent, but not in the same way as before. Emilia endearingly reflects these thoughts on Lamesa’s afternoon stillness in her photograph series. Perhaps everyone in the USA has been taking dips in our friends’ pools, but we feel somewhat at home thinking that ‘America’ is that place two houses down–just the way we left it. Yet it’s dusty and all the passersby see it needs some cleaning and renovating. Perhaps being American now, is to search for a home. “Lamesa, Texas” has been de-installed for the Transformations Conference this weekend, but you can try catching Emilia before she graduates spring 2010. With this project as an inspirational launch pad, she is scouting quiet, ignored, abandoned areas for the traces people left behind, whether within the last decade, or the last hundred years. She’ll be pursuing graduate studies, and practical work immediately post-graduation. View her portfolio here (link: http://student.mica.edu/epapanicolaon), and her blog here (link: http://emilia-antonia.blogspot.com/)

What’s in “Lamesa, Texas”? What’s in Lamesa, Texas?

Exactly. But things aren’t as they seem.

Emilia Papanicolau, photo senior this year, was part of the recent group show of selected photo works in the Main Building’s Gallery. Her series, “Lamesa, Texas” caught my eye. Rustic colors of the Wild, Wild West–a dusty America bygone but still romanticized and ever alive in pockets of popular culture like the movie Toy Story. Not really animated in life, but like the toys in the movie, but kicking in our minds when we speak of it. Familiarity and foreignness intertwined, the art pieces somehow miss the mark of being “otherly”. Perhaps it’s because we insist on its presentness.

My encounter with Emilia was much like my first and second with “Lamesa, Texas”. Familiar, warm, yet something to dig deeper into, like the link has been set. Perhaps my bias is that like Emilia, I am from Boston with a few close relatives in Texas at one point; that like her, for summers, instead of going to the Cape or Martha’s Vineyard, we’d go to Texas or other places that our neighbors wouldn’t be at. She didn’t have to explain to me that greater Boston has a large Irish and Italian populace, with pockets of Jewish people and hardly any Black folk–at least where we grew up. Yet we never met until now, both being in Baltimore–a city that feels like a hodgepodge of various places in its aesthetics and the variety of peoples in sections of the city. We don’t have to explain these things, much less Red Sox passion or the urban geography.

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by Flora Choi

Linling Lu, a senior at the Maryland Institute College of Art, creates colorful, vibrant paintings that deal with the psychosis of the human mind, Asian culture, as well as topographical maps. Linling’s pieces are  very much influenced by nature. She has stated, ” I am just amazed by nature. Contours  that are created by nature and GIS technology are powerful and exciting. I want to transform that beauty and enlightenment into my paintings.” Confucianism and Taoism are related to her work as conceptual ideas that explain or explore the relationships between humans and the universe.

Linling was born in the southwest part of China, Guizhou Province, the home of many different ethnic minorities who constitute almost 40% of the population. People in that province have different cultures, various music, and many religions. Their ceremonies, rituals, and harvest celebrations from ancient times deeply influence her paintings in both colors and concepts. Coming to the United States from China was a big decision for her–for her great ambition to paint, she left her family, friends, and motherland. Two years have passed now, besides working through the language barrier between Chinese and English, she enjoys being here and seeing all the cultural similarities and differences between the western and the eastern World from an artistic perspective.

Theandric-Idol

Download Linling Lu article

by Katherine Mann

2nd year MICA Hoffberger school of Painting student Hwa Hyun Kim at once reveres and pummels the expectations of figuration with whimsy and elegance in her portraits of men painted in ink on Korean paper.  Kim paints male figures in a style influenced by manga cartoons and traditional Asian ink painting–creating effeminate, yet absurdly desirable characters awash in a type of transgender, heartbreaking sexuality.

02ct

Hwa Hyun grew up in Seoul, Korea, reading manga books, particularly “romance manga”.  She refers to the male characters in these novels as “highly stylized” and “not heroic or strong but very beautiful, sweet and romantic.”  According to Kim, these novels described the male figure as an object of desire, subjects of the female’s gaze and fantasy.  She claims, “These mangas show exactly what women want from men –or (Asian) girls want from boys– without having to make any kind of compromise with the terms of reality (ex. Men are stronger than women, physically and socio-politically, therefore there are limits to what women can demand.. these conditions can be completely ignored in manga.)”

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We’re Artists meeting and talking with other Artists. Our interest is the Asian diaspora, and its farflung influences–and on the other hand, how Asian Culture and Arts have been influenced by the inter-culturalistic points its met in its travels. Tune in on Sundays for Microcosm’s regular goodness, and throughout the week for special surprises.
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