This is part of our special feature on Europe-China Relations.
While Xin Song’s work highlights the ancient folk art tradition of paper-cutting, her collages made from recycled magazines also cut through modern consumerism and wastefulness. Likewise, Long Bin Chen’s sculptures made from old books and magazines breathe new life into otherwise abandoned documents, thereby creating a world of art that points the viewer to a Chinese culture full of knowledge and wisdom in which the literary tradition is highly cherished. Nina Kuo’s work brings Asian symbols and tradition in dialogue with modern global influences. Her paintings reveal the dissatisfaction experienced in consumerism and the impact of global pollution, as well as the need to bridge global differences for a brighter future while remaining poetically grounded in the spiritual.
–Nicole Shea for EuropeNow
Life of the tree, part II, Papercut with magazine collage on Mylar, 55” x 76” 2009
Life of the tree, part II detail, Papercut with magazine collage on Mylar, 55” x 76” 2009
Diamond Tree: Papercut with magazine collage on Mylar, 54”x 54 ” 2010
Diamond Tree detail, Papercut with magazine collage on Mylar, 54”x 54 ” 2010
My recent work borrows pictures from all kind of magazines, in the service of large questions about social & political values. Many of the issues are discussed in these magazines because they are questions people already think about every day, such as, current affairs, politics, war, population, environment, and many others. While I am collecting image for my papercut collage, I consider each small piece and its meaning, and when each piece finds its way into my work, it brings that message & connection to the world in to my work. Every day I see, hear, feel and think about the world through magazines which people glance through & then throw away. For me, I have found importance & value in these materials as in many ways they are mirror the world around us.
Xin Song creates contemporary Chinese papercuts inspired by the traditional form she learned from studying with farmers in the Chinese countryside in her youth. Using her own photography, magazines, Mylar, rice and other papers, her often large-scale site-specific installations use draping, hanging, glass lamination, and light depending on the project. Her highly diverse themes range from venerable flower motifs and landscape studies to urban scenes that reflect her longtime residence in New York. Among her numerous public commissions for the Manhattan Borough are her Five Elements for the Fashion District’s Broadway Boulevard Plaza, a permanent installation at the Bay Parkway Landmark Station, D Line in Brooklyn, NY and an installation for Grand Central’s 100 Anniversary Celebration awarded by the MTA Arts for Transit.Permanent installation for Ps170k public school lobby in Brooklyn.The recipient of multiple awards and grants, her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at museums, commercial galleries, and alternative spaces. Notable recent exhibitions include the Venice Biennial 2017, Noyes Museum of Art of New Jersey 2017,Staten island museum2016, Musée du Louvre, Paris, 2014; National Art Museum of China, 2013; Prow Art Space of the Flatiron Building, 2012; and Paper Art Biennial in Sophia, Bulgaria, 2011. As an art educator, Xin Song has been a guest lecturer at stony brook university, Hampshire College, Hunter college, FIT and has created Chinese papercut and shadow puppet workshops for cultural institutions and schools since 2001.
Culture warrior, 2004, book magazine, 21”x 14” x 15”
Culture warrior, 2004, book magazine, 21”x 14” x 15”
Culture warrior (Blue), 2004, book magazine, 21”x 14” x 15”
“Umbrella Girl,” acrylic on canvas, 2013-2015, 24 x 24 inches
“Tang Shopping Cart Lady,” acrylic on canvas, 2013-2015, 24 x 36 inches
“Face,” acrylic on canvas, 2013-2015, 10 x 9 inches
“Two Hobby Horse Girls,” acrylic on rag, 2007, 30 x 22 inches
My paintings expose illusions of transcending mental worlds created with Asian symbols in lost landscapes. Some floating calligraphy, anachronistic scholars, gardens or rocks appear too. At times my natural figures mimic our transplanted identity with modern props or newly created exploding transparencies within abstractions that evoke a retreat into a juxtaposed haunting culture. Influences: Zen and Chinese Literati Painters and the globalized new realities of Asian aesthetics.
Nina Kuo is a painter, photographer, mixed media artist, active in experimentation and postmodern aesthetics. In her work, she experiments with nature/ landscapes and figures against the newer modes of video and installations. With emotion, she couples references to Asian symbols with contemporary media references, creating a hybrid art. This has provided a new source for iconic images dealing with global issues of community. Nina Kuo, the daughter of abstract painter James Kuo, was born in the Midwest and attended the State University of New York at Buffalo. She attended workshops in college with Judy Chicago and showed with Robert Longo and Cindy Sherman, pioneers of Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center. Kuo has curated and lectured in Asian-American Arts Centers as well as in Asia, and has participated in exhibitions with avant-garde artists such as Ai Wei Wei, Zhang Hongtu and Tehching Hsieh. Notably, Kuo has also exhibited with feminist scholars and curators Lucy Lippard and Marcia Tucker. Kuo works in various media, including painting, mixed media, photography and video. Her figures and landscapes represent the views of an Asian scholar and artist living in the West for its opportunities, but looking to the East for its spirituality. Working intermittently in Asia has encouraged her to research the ongoing evolution of Asian cultures and has given her access to translated icons hidden in her own works, taking her art to a new emotional level.
Nicole Shea ran CenterArts Gallery in Newburgh from 2009-2012 and later incorporated her arts experience into the leadership training at West Point. In 2015, she founded a large-scale sculpture walk outside the gates of West Point, which she has been curating together with the founding members of Collaborative Concepts in a community effort to revitalize the area via the arts. She is also Executive Editor of EuropeNow and Director of the Council for European Studies.
Published on June 5, 2018.