Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Art Collaborative: 7th exhibit - IDENTItea curated by Sand T

Featuring Wes Kalloch, Tie Li, Elise Mannella, Lauren O’Neal, Yosh Sanbonmatsu, Sand T, and Lawrence Wong. Exhibition Dates: October 13 – December 15, 2001.

*This event is designed for the Asian America Artists Roundtable Series. Opening Reception with YangQin music performance by Kenneth Chan on Saturday, October 13, 2001from 2-5pm. Artists Talk & Poetry Readings at 4pm. Classical Chinese Tea Tasting in Kung-Fu Style presented by Chinese Culture Connection: Catherine Wang Hsu & Mei Hung with our special guest Tea Master James Hsu at 3pm.

TEA ART: Along with painting, mixed media, and installation art, the exhibit features a Classical Chinese tea-tasting, poetry reading, and artists’ talks, a collection of purple clay teapots from the Yixing Provence of China and books on tea are on displayed.


IDENTItea - - This exhibition features seven visual artists with similar themes that explore the boundary between self and others through issues of social identity, politics, culture and tea. They use paintings, prints, collages, mixed media, and art installations as their means of expression. Participating artists include Wes Kalloch, Tie Li, Elise Mannella, Lauren O’Neal, Yosh Sanbonmatsu, Sand T, and Lawrence Wong.

Quoted from Tie Li, "The human body as an important subject matter has a long history in Western art, and particularly in contemporary art. It is a major site for artistic statements, but also social, political and cultural statements." His Acupuncture Series explore concepts of the body in relation to traditional Chinese medicine.

The artist moved from Beijing, China. He moved to the U.S.A. in 1987 and graduated from San Diego State University, California with a M.F.A. in Painting and Printmaking, He informally studied acupuncture and is fascinated by the practice. The "Acupuncture Series" evoke dialogues of duality: past and present, East and West, traditional and innovation. Using a synthesis of these seemingly oppositional elements, Li creates a new complex whole aesthetic experience. This series of oil paintings is quite disturbing. It's dark, confrontational, and ambiguous, and yet quite stimulating.

Image: mixed media work by Wes Kalloch.

Wes Kalloch, who earned a B.S. in Landscape Horticulture from University of Maine, is interested in making collage artwork using specimens from plants, slightly ambiguous images from magazine periodicals, found objects, and various media. In IDENTItea, Wes displays two mixed media on wood pieces entitled "No problem." The work is assembled as a collage of various textures and images. It is mainly an exercise of wiseass composition and low -brow attention grabbing text. Wes relies on vague memories and half -baked anxieties when constructing work in this vein. He hopes the viewer not to be overly concerned with these ideas after taking a good look. It is just a light- hearted display on the confusion of living as a white Anglo-Saxon protestant man.

Image: Mixed media work by Elise Mannella.

Elise Mannella enrolled in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston School where she completed her MFA in sculpture. For IDENTItea, the one idea that came to her mind was to connect with the connotation of tea, which is so important to the Asian culture, but different in the coffee drinking American culture. Thus, she created a mixed media piece entitled "Love Tea" exploring social and cultural identity. A handy size wood tea box decorated neatly with small rose buds around its open rim, on its side laid the tea box cover collaged with slips of fortunes on it surface.

"To offer someone tea is a form of graciousness and caring, of paying attention to an individual. To pay attention to someone is a form of love." Elise says. On the cover of the wooden tea box, she pasted three slips of "fortunes" to explore the idea of identity and love that read "To know you is to love you", "We are incomplete alone, that is why we seek another kindred spirit", and, "If thou must love me, let it be for naught except for love's sake only". Elise would like the viewer to ponder this: does loving another mean loss of self-identity, or the creation of a new identity?
Mannella also displays her series of three prints she created using Polaroid transfer on rag paper.

Image: mixed media collage/assemblage work by Lauren O'Neal.

Lauren O'Neal displays The Tea Cups Series, six mixed media collage/assemblage work exploring tea, gender roles and the notion of drinking. Presently Lauren is the Executive director for the Arlington Center for the arts. Lauren says, "I want to explore the notion of tea-drinking in Western/American culture as specifically a "feminine" activity, but not until only very recently, and offer ways to counter the limitations associated with that connotation."

The object, sitting in peripheral space, holds a story, references an event, bears witness to live, thoughts, small moments in time that when montaged and re-interpreted, tell alternate tales. The Tea Cups Series, take objects as starting points - in this case, fragments of teacups and saucers. Lauren laughed while recalling the pleasure of throwing her first piece of porcelain as "somewhat destructive, but was also joyous," "however," she says, "it was not the most pleasurable sensation for those in the room." She assembled the fragments with other found objects and gave it a new tale. This series of work is an externalization of her "Household Artifacts Series" that explores memory, place and identity as it is constructed or reconstructed by elements from buildings and houses. The "Household Artifacts Series" will be on display at the Malden Library in November and December. Opening reception is on November 16, 2001.

Image: Painting by Yosh Sanbonmatsu.

Yosh Sanbonmatsu, a retired English Teacher, considers himself more social critic than painter. He is the director for the Gallery of Social/Political Art in Boston. His works look at the United States' involvement in Asia. One of his works, "Poston," its about Japanese internment during W.W.II. "The problem of ethnicity has more or less been the context of my life," born in California, Yosh describes "I was brought up like many Asians, to believe in social harmony and therefore be deferential to circumstances and the social order.... the civil rights and anti-war movements of the Sixties changed me," Yosh puts in plain words, that, "The realities of American policy and politics, both domestic and foreign, obliterated that deference."

Image: Detail of a collaborative piece by Yosh Sanbonmatsu and Sand T.

Other works of his at the exhibit are an oil painting titled, "Vietnam Memorial", and a collaborative work with Sand T entitled "For All the Tea in China," which takes a satirical look at the Boston Tea party.

Sand T completed her Museum Studies and graduated from Tufts University with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts in painting, displays her series of mixed media paintings entitled "Re." This series of four paintings is an unfolding of four artists, including the works' creator, Sand T. Each expressing their concerns, giving helpful advice and enlightening thoughts about a particular dream the artist had. The four individuals, their thoughts, their identities and personalities are revealed through relating words they gave when dispensing advice on how to deal with the artist's experience. This series is an attempt to look at an issue from different perspectives, Each perspective might or might not help to resolve the "Problem", but essentially the acts of expressing, listening, judging, and accepting of one's perspective are left.

Image: Installation by Lawrence Wong.

Lawrence Wong, a graduate from University Massachusetts Dartmouth uses computer-generated text and paprika powder to create an art installation entitled "Passport 101". With this piece, Lawrence addresses his national identity, which has been changed from British/Hong Kong to British Dependent Territories Citizen, then to British National Overseas, and then, most recently has changed to Hong Kong Special Administrative District Citizen.

According to Lawrence, the process of re-defining is a conceptual activity of self-evaluation. On the floor lies a row of five 3.5" x 5" squares of paprika. Each square represents a passport with a computer-generated text description of citizenship during a particular time period. The descriptions change from one to the next, but the squares of paprika powder line up one after another without changing color, shape, size and taste. Lawrence elucidates, "Despite the changing of my citizenship descriptions I am still the Lawrence Wong who keeps defining his social, culture, and self identity through art making."


IDENTItea is an event of the Asian American Artists Roundtable Series.

The Asian American Artists Roundtable Series (AAAR) is a Collaborative Project between the Great Wall Center, Inc., artSPACE@16, Malden Asian Pacific American Coalition and Asian Spectrum TV Series. This program is support in part by funding provided by The Massachusetts Cultural Council and Malden Cultural Council, Asian American Unity Fund, The Boston Foundation, Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation, Malden Redevelopment Authority and the Mayor's Office of Malden.
For more info about the AAAR Series, please contact:
Richard Cheng. Great Wall Center, Inc.,
Sand T, artSPACE@16

A Hot Cup of IDENTItea: Exhibit Overview - The Sampan, Boston, MA. 11/16/2001