Environmental Study (2003)
Environmental Study is my first outdoor project inspired by the beauty of rural Maine. I created this piece during my summer at Skowhegan Artist Residency Program. I combined an old school desk with falling branches to represent a person’s education throughout his or her life time. The stacked branches look like strands of hair growing from the head (the old desk) and merging into the ground (the green lawn). The falling brown branches and the surrounded green trees played the opposite roles between life and death. Since the found materials are not permanent, the work also suggests the loss of time and memory.
The idea for Haywire project comes from my life experiences both in urban China and in rural Kansas. Haywire means something is losing control which refers to the chaotic aspect of urban Chinese life. Single word Hay implies rural Kansas and Wire indicates power lines in Chinese major cities.
The horizontal mixed media work Prairie Waves represents the open space and the flow of the Kansas Prairie. The attached hay bales at the ends are similar to the wooden scrolls. The installation piece Haywire, however, reveals the sometimes claustrophobic and chaotic aspects of Chinese urbanization. The massive electric wires are placed sporadically on the wall and connected to the telephone poles at the corners. Two charcoal drawings of vanishing electric poles are painted directly on the ends of the opposite walls. Therefore, the viewers feel like they can walk into the work itself as the pole lined road continues. The commercial advertizing and posters are found on most bill boards, available wall spaces as well as telephone poles. These are very real part of Chinese city life. I attempt to replicate this overwhelmed Chinese urban street scene into a small gallery space. Click here to watch a video about the Haywire exhibition.