Tansy Xiao is a curator, artist, writer, translator, and an overtly out of the box thinker. She shares with Art Spiel some insights on her upcoming curatorial project at Radiator, her art-making, as well as translation and writing processes.
AS: Tell me a bit about yourself and what brought you to art – writing, translation, curation and making.
Tansy Xiao: I wasn’t properly schooled, neither did I consider myself an artist when I was travelling around and painting abstract murals in exchange for food and accommodation. Now you might call it an unprompted residency. During my long trips and brief sojourns, I would write book length letters to my friends, with a mutual understanding that they were not obligated to reply. I joined and formed communities, then left them, until I have relatively settled in New York, a city with such transience that the fear of being trapped in a constricted niche no longer haunts me. That’s when I began my practice as a curator and translator. If I were to describe my status quo now, I’d quote D. H. Lawrence’s last paragraph in Rainbow:
The group show “Formula 1: A Loud, Low Hum” at CUE Art Foundation raises questions on the meaning of visual formulae in contemporary art without falling into the trap of formulaic. The genesis of this three-person sculpture group show started with an open call in which the curators Mira Dayal and Simon Wu asked savvy art viewers to suggest “formulas,” that is, combinations of materials and tropes used, or perhaps overused in art today. Out of the 67 formulas submitted, the curators selected the ones they both found intriguing and invited Nikita Gale, Amanda Turner Pohan, and Laurie Kang to come up with responses to formulas that invoked the hard and soft, technological and biological, individual and institutional. Gale’s body-like textures, Pohan’s sleek kinetic sculptures, and Kang’s architectural steel structure, all merge industrial off the shelf materials with invisible elements such as sound, vibration, and sensitivity to light. Like the relationship of body and mind, their fragmented materials assume meaning through the hidden forces that seem to operate them.
In her recent exhibition at the New York Stand4 gallery, Jeannine Bardo displays her art in the wall and on the wall. The Brooklyn artist paints, scratches, plasters, and finds objects from nature that add up to a set of narratives that she titles “Long Time Passing/ A Campfire Story.” The artworks are subtle, with almost no color. The carvings and objects are not clearly visible at first glance. Bardo invites her viewers to take their time, sit by the fire, and listen as she unravels her tales, using shiny spots that glitter along their progression. As the stories unfold, her calm work reveals a sense of menace that continues throughout the narrative path.
The tension between “inside” and “outside” in Erika Ranee’s paintings draw you into an enclosed space with an explosive and rhythmic internal movement. The vibrant colors, organic shapes, and linear marks that link the forms like veins, altogether resonate with living organisms, body, or microscopic landscapes. The artist shares with Art Spiel what brought her to art, her thought and work processes, as well as her current projects.
M. David & Co. ,Cosmic Veggies, El Sótano, C&M Creative
M. David & Co.
So certainly sonorous that it’s surely a song is the duet of solo shows by Len Bellinger and Denise Sfraga that didn’t just open, but robustly, vividly, gregariously and, in part, also florally burst into being at M. David & Co. a couple of weeks ago. The energy and dynamism of the works in both exhibits is readily infectious, such that the reception itself assumed the same airs. That might’ve even been what catalyzed some of the springtime climes we’ve felt of late. And if so, great. Let’s see more, please.
Katarina Wong is an artist and curator whose interests range from cross-cultural pollination to Buddhist perception of interdependence, expressed through a myriad of media such as sculptural ceramics and works on paper. She shares with Art Spiel her background, ideas,and process.
Linger Still, (installation view). Image courtesy of Assembly Room Gallery
Diaspora consciousness is an acute mindfulness of one’s cultural origins post-migration. This awareness can be, “heightened by communication and visits, and is retained in memories, storytelling and other creative forms.” Individuals or families who take the risk to migrate must navigate a series of unanticipated complexities away from the support of their families and communities. For those who choose to leave or flee from their homelands the sensation of “otherness” is a pervasive factor in their quest for opportunities, stability, and safety. This uncanny sensation serves as the conceptual pulse and subtle heartbeat for Kaveri Raina’s solo exhibition “Linger Still,” curated by Emily Burns currently on view at Assembly Room Gallery.
“The stream of sap in the trees varies according to the phases of the moon.”
-Theodor Schwenk, Sensitive Chaos
Sandra Chamberlin’s sculptural installations invites the viewer to enter a three-dimensional drawing of alternate life-forms. Lines made of wood float off the walls, hover in the air, or balance on the ground, altogether creating a sense of abstracted life-forms. These linear sculptures are deeply rooted in the artist’s intriguing relationship to materials and processes which overall tie into her intricate perception of nature. Since the early eighties, Chamberlin has been making out of wood abstracted shapes through meticulous manual and mechanical processes she has perfected over these years.
In the context of the global feminist art of today there are a few trailblazers who continue to work and dazzle with their exuberance. Immediacy and mastery of visual resolution signal such fast-paced and intuitive artists. German-born Elvira Bach is one of them. Bach has created a striking painterly style that catches the eye and stimulates further contemplation. For a viewer, Bach’s expressiveness establishes an immediate and deep bond with the traditions of the German Expressionism, embodying in her paintings the Expressionists’ core principle – namely, depicting the artist’s inherent conflicts within the society and within herself. For Elvira Bach urgency of expression, empathy, and visual projection of deep inner strength are important attributes.
Rachael Wren’s delicate paintings pulsate with repetitive brush strokes that both allure you to look closely at the elaborate geometric surfaces and at the same time pull you into mysterious psychological interiors or perhaps cosmic fields. Her grid structure serves as an anchor for the paint /space- anchoring facilitates a greater freedom of movement and flow within. The artist shares with Art Spiel her ideas on color, painting, and studio process.