Bemis artist bridges cultures
August 31st, 2011
Omaha, NE – The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art will present the work of three artists-in-residence Thursday night, including a local artist who is using her work to bridge cultures.
A native of China, artist Yinghua Zhu has been on a long journey to get to her current life. Sheâ€™s lived in Omaha for 12 years, and began her career earning her Bachelorâ€™s degree in Management Information Systems.â€œBut after I graduated, it just became really clear to me that I did not want to spend my life sitting in front of a computer,â€ Zhu said in a recent interview with KVNO News. â€œSo I went back to school and took some studio art classes, and realized this is what I want to be doing. I want to be creating, and be making and discovering.â€
Now, Zhu has an exhibit at Peerless Gallery in Midtown Crossing, which opens Friday. And she will spend the next few months working full time as an artist-in-residence in the Bemisâ€™ studios. Zhu is pursuing her dream of full-time artist with her work in sculptures and installations, turning household materials like eggshell and paper into abstract explorations of culture.
â€œA lot of the ideas were inspired by my experiences of leaving China and coming to a new place,â€ she said. â€œSo this transformation, and just looking at things with new eyes and discovering things. I think we all share this experience of caught in between, or going to a new place, new environment.â€
Zhu says she also uses text in her work. Language is fascinating to her, she says, as her own experience with it formed a gateway to a new world.
â€œIn a way, I was trying to take language or text from their literal environment and make it into a visual experience,â€ she said. “Language represents the culture itself. So itâ€™s a way for me to discover the culture, or adapt to the culture. Language was kind of like the tool I used to make these discoveries.â€
Zhu will present her work to the public at the Bemisâ€™ monthly Art Talk, where sheâ€™ll discuss her artistic process with the community. Sheâ€™ll be joined by the Bemisâ€™ two other artists-in-residence: New Yorker Peter Owen and Tim DeVoe, from Richmond, Virginia. The Art Talk takes place Thursday at 7pm at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in downtown Omaha.
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