Reception: Saturday 10 December, 4 - 6pm
weighing it out
Crystal Liu constructs landscapes that are metaphors for her emotional states. In large-scale paintings on paper that incorporate her adaptation of the technique of marbleized paper along with watercolor and metallic pigments, the fundamental elements of earth and sky enact narratives of conflict, entrapment, longing, and precarious hope.
There are echoes of the centuries-old tradition of Chinese ink brush painting in the swirls of marbleized black ink and the efficient distillation of line, form and color into evocative depictions of stone, mountain ranges, and subterranean cross-sections of earth. Metallic gold pigment provides a stark contrast in the form of a moon and hundreds of stars, which become the protagonists in an epic odyssey of faith and tenacity against the daunting forces of reality.
Crystal Liu's parents emigrated from China to Toronto, Canada, where she was born in 1980. Liu majored in photography at the Ontario College of Art & Design and received an MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2005. She resides in San Francisco.
Drawing from sources as diverse as African mudcloth, Japanese shibori, and Native American basket weavings, Julie Chang investigates how identities are constructed, engaging patterns to explore the personal and political forces that shape and misshape our lives. Chang will create a work directly on the walls and floor of the gallery as well as present a series of large-scale paintings on paper.
The patterns in woven textiles and baskets reflect a rich multiplicity of traditions, while the elemental forms in each are common to many cultures across the globe. Similarly, the process of weaving embodies paradox in its unification of opposites: the warp and the weft, one vertical and one horizontal thread, one stretched taut and one in undulating motion.
Taking her cue from the visual and technical components of weaving, Chang’s forms freely float and then gather and intertwine. Shapes migrate and cross boundaries, transformed by encounters with other forms. Arrivals, foreignness, dislocation, struggle and integration reference hidden histories both personal and universal.
In many countries and cultures today, weaving remains a vital craft, reflecting vibrant traditions while encumbered by the politics of gender, race and class. Taking her identity as a Chinese American woman as a starting point, Chang explores the formal systems and invented structures in which we operate: rules, constraints, and possibilities made visible and material.
Julie Chang was born in Parkridge, Illinois and raised in Orange County, California. She received her MFA from Stanford University in 2007. As one of five artists chosen to create a permanent art installation for the new San Francisco Transbay Transit Center, she is designing 20,000 square feet of terrazzo floor for the Grand Hall.