77 Artwork Made for Women by Women
Visitors in front of the interactive title work. Installation view at Artosino Gallery (Photo by Wenkai Li)
On April 27th, as Garment District in New York City switches to night mode, crowds of visitors head towards the opening of the “What A Woman” open call exhibition at Artosino Gallery. A show for women, made by mostly Asian women artists.
Junyi Gu, “The Fruit” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
One wing of the gallery has been painted red. At first glance, Junyi Gu’s “The Fruit” seems to be a homage to the masters of the Baroque style, but the silver apple icon suggests otherwise. With a little humor involved, it becomes a commentary of the unchanging male gaze throughout art history.
Zan Wang, “Infinite Ego” (second to right) (Photo by Wenkai Li)
To its left, with “Infinite Ego,” artist Zan Wang uses graphic symbols to represent the infinite potential for growth, and rediscovery of self. “As I write and etch, I discover a new self in the subtle order between objects and the air, between words and what they represent...” says Wang.
Ni Ouyang, “Temptation” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
Ni Ouyang’s “Temptation” attracts attentions with its silent playfulness and ambiguous flirtation. By shining a light on the quiet presence of homosexual desire in China, Ouyang opens a pocket that leads to wondrous imagination and escapes.
Chutian Shu, “Untitled” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
“Untitled” is a light touch on the mundane situations in a woman’s daily life. “It indicates the different facets of a mind that is neurotically self-absorbed, endearingly naive, and bewildered by existence, all at once.” says the photographer Chutian Shu.
Hui Ma, “Paradise Lust” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
Hui Ma’s watercolor illustrations “Paradise Lust,” on the other hand, are the liberation of female identities, individuality before the roles of mothers, sisters, and wives.
Qiao Zhang, “My Own Goddess” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
Qiao Zhang’s illustration “My Own Goddess” is a portrayal of three Greek deities, each stands for self-confidence, breakthrough, and justice. By generating positive energy in her work, Zhang hopes to inspire women to pursue more possibilities in life.
Yuan Liao, “Solitary” and “Chaos” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
By freely experimenting with needle pens, ballpoint pens, and watercolor, illustrator Yuan Liao’s “Solitary” tells the story of a time-traveling female doctor who challenges her male counterparts in ancient China, while “Chaos” fuses together the contradictory aspects of being female, strong, sensitive, fast, merciful.
Weilin Wang, “C-3” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
The process is the most important part of Weilin Wang’s “C-3.” Painting from a little girl’s perspective, her work is a bridge through which she shares her findings of an imaginative parallel world, where cacti and monsters with only mouths coexist.
Hongyu Pu, “Hug You And Squeeze You Until…” (top left) (Photo by Wenkai Li)
Using natural wool, polyester batting and fiber, Hongyu Pu’s abstract sculpture “Hug You And Squeeze You Until…” is the recreation of her cravings of pain. “This is a self-confirmation ceremony,” says Pu. “...this process makes me feel closer to the answer of who I am and Why I exist.”
Dier Zhang, “Untitled” (bottom) Chao Wang, “Lost in Yesterday” (top right) (Photo by Wenkai Li)
By mixing medical tools and sex toys with common household objects in “Untitled,” artist Dier Zhang emphasizes on how women have been treated unfairly since the development of modern medicines.
Xiuzhu Li, “RED” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
Inspired by the Chinese folklore of the romantic red strings, Xiuzhu Li’s “RED” tells the story about intimacy, struggles, and rebellion of a lesbian couple.
Shuwen Xu, “UNTITLED” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
Yiru Chen, “Self-taught I” (Screenshot of video)
While covering the body, Shuwen Xu’s garment “UNTITLED” unveils and screams out a deeper meaning, seeking to expose the gazing of body shape, features, and blood.
Video installation “Self-taught I” is Yiru Chen’s revelation of her childhood perspective shaped by the lack of sex education in China. “I naively imagined that the male genital is shaped like a clavate, and the female ones are of spherical forms.” says Chen.
Mo Zhou, “Portrait of Frida Kahlo and Portrait of Yayoi Kusama” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
By animating the two iconic female artists in “Portrait of Frida Kahlo and Portrait of Yayoi Kusama,” artist Mo Zhou enhances their characteristics in a way that mimics the portraits on the walls of Hogwarts.
Xiaofeng Wang starred in her video “Seven Sages of Bamboo Grove,” an experiment to get rid of seven familiar artwork characters as an escape from being categorized. While Chao Wang’s painting “Lost In Yesterday” urges the viewers to look beyond historic stereotypes that confined women in the past, represented by ruins and traditional clothing.
Ye Xu, “Mu Qu Zhao Lai: when the dusk passes, the morning comes again” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
Bilin Chen, “Rouge” (Photo by Wenkai Li)
Ye Xu’s “Mu Qu Zhao Lai: when the dusk passes, the morning comes again” is a stunning photography trilogy of the evolution of women’s makeup during China’s dynasty periods; While Bilin Chen’s “Rouge” further questions the expectation of women wearing makeup by a series of still photographs, in which she performed under a projector that served as a virtual makeup brush.
Installation view (Photo by Wenkai Li)
“Guys can be feminists,” says Shirong Gu, one of the three curators. He was responsible for installing most of the 77 pieces of artwork during installation exactly the night before. Having a strong background in designing retail display for high-end footwear, Gu joined a new collective called Zingartgroup and acts as a long-term liaison between Artosino Gallery and its artists, curating many shows. But a show for women is something new.
Collaborated with two other curators, Ye’er Shi, and Will Yunshu Chen, the three worked around the clock to review nearly 300 pieces of submissions sent by artists residing in five countries, including the U.S., China, Italy, Singapore, and the U.K.
Installation view (Photo by Wenkai Li)
“I wanted to try for an open call,” says Ye’er Shi. “And it was the right decision. I can see many Asian female artists in this show finding their voices through creating new work.”
Will Chen was the one who introduced de Beauvoir’s idea of “one is not born, but rather one becomes a woman” during the brainstorming. “What I am most excited about is that there are multitudes of fresh discussions around the female identity, mental frustration, self-mockery, and transgender.”
Visitors interacting with the title work designed by Zhaoyi Wang. (Photo by Wenkai Li)
Visual director Zhaoyi Wang was tasked with designing the title work that consists of many dialogue bubbles, on which are mainstream perceptions of being a woman, and viewers are encouraged to write down their own ideas and stick them to the wall.