Lily Kostrzewa interviews artist Lo Ch’ing

In the summer of 2020, I was invited by the director of Whitebox Art Center in New York City to write a piece art review for an exhibition “Nocturnal Whispers of Pan” by Lo Ch’ing and Thomas Rose. It was the first time I saw Lo Ch’ing’s paintings; I was fascinated by the exhibition. The two artists open a new artistic dialogue that begins with an interpretation of an image’s meaning and a discussion of the cultural concepts surrounding the image. Using the cultural concept of Chinese calligraphy’s reimagined scenarios, Lo Ch’ing creates images of Chinese calligraphic “playful” icons with a focus on bizarre spatial arrangements with an abstract traditional format. He also created a poem for each image in both Chinese and English languages. In my childhood, my artistic foundation was trained in traditional Chinese calligraphy/painting in Taiwan, which made me wish to interview Mr. Lo one aday. The wish was granted two years later.

A Maple Tree’s Magnificent Autumn, ink and watercolor on paper, 27 × 54 in | 68 × 137 cm, 2018

Lo Ch’ing, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, was a famous poet from Taiwan; he studied comparative literature at Washington State University in Seattle and obtained a master’s degree. After returning to Taiwan, he taught at the School of Foreign Languages ​​of Fu Jen Catholic University, later serving as the director of the Chinese Language and Culture Center (Mandarin Training Center) of the National Taiwan Normal University, taught at its Fine Arts Department and many other schools as well. He has been invited to give lectures in various countries around the world and has appraised calligraphy and paintings in well-known museums, including the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Shanghai Museum, … Click here to read more

Reality is a Constant Becoming

Luis Cortés, a sculptor from Zaragoza who lives in Barcelona, has spent years investigating movement through his articulated sculptures, a series made up mostly of small minimalist sculptures with pure shapes, representing different animals, such as the horse, the elephant, or the whale. However, he has also studied the human figure and the hand. In Luis Cortés’ sculptures, you can observe a part of scientific research, and the artist investigates movement carefully. Each of his sculptures is made with a different number of wooden pieces, all of them with geometric shapes. These pieces are linked together through pivot points, thus allowing movement.

In Barcelona, Spain, the presence of exceptional creativity and imagination is around every corner, where artists like Gaudi, Picasso, Miro, and Dali once resided. I was lucky enough to visit Luis Cortes’ art studio, where I wandered around like a child in a Toyland. I was fascinated by his geometrical jigsaw puzzles that turn into motion sculptures.

Animals, plants and ultimately all living beings are important examples of morphological changes, their displacement, and relationships with other beings, based on their intentions, instinct, and intelligence.

– Luis Cortez

“Horse”, wood, 15 in | 40 cm tall, 2019

Luis Cortes went to school at Facultat de Belles Arts, Universitat de Barcelona (The Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona) and was initially trained as a filmmaker. Throughout his career, he has made a living as a special effects maker for motion pictures and commercials. Eventually, the evolution of sculptures made with kinetic chains captured his mind. He devoted his focus to it as he became a full-time artist. Over the last ten years, he has applied polygons’ continuous lines and rigid elements to create various figures through endless detailed calculations of multiple pivot … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Lin Shih Pao

Lin Shih Pao is a New York contemporary artist born in Pingtung County, Taiwan. A child from the rural countryside of Taiwan, he has been creating with his hands since he was young. And his hand-making skill has led to this extraordinary life as a legendary artist in a social movement. Taiwan’s Times Press compiled his story into two books:” A Penny Story” and “The Legend Continues.” Taiwan’s public television also produced an episode for him: An Artist’s Story.

You may be as curious as I am, how his work resulted in a thousand-person social movement? How he demonstrates love in interpersonal relationships has brought tears to the eyes of many, both participants in his creation and viewers. And his volunteers rally to him with exuberance and passion. Let us hear his views on art creation from the following interview.

“Love Ring 1”, PVC, gold foil, 13 x 13 x 10 in | 33 x 33 x 25 cm, 2020

Who are your most admired artists?

I like Van Gogh’s wild, enthusiastic, and reckless personality. I think that’s the spirit that an artist should have, regardless of the consequences to make art, live in the moment, and do whatever you want to do at the moment for the art’s sake. I have visited the painting site of Van Gogh in the south of France, and I can feel the momentum. In addition, I also like Picasso’s willful little urchin personality, but Picasso is very good at doing art business. Unlike Van Gogh, Picasso’s life is the sum of reason and sensibility. As for American artists, I like Jackson Pollock. His action painting in Abstract Expressionism has an invisible coincidence with my painting creation. I often use a similar technique as he does to flick … Click here to read more

Through COVID cocoon, acclaimed Japanese artist Ogino brings a new perspective to NYC

“My painting is so to say an accumulation of questions about different elements, forming many layers.” – Yuna Ogino

Artist Yuna Ogino is one of the most acclaimed artists of the new generation of Japanese artists. By developing a distinctively striking style, her works have been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Yuna Ogino (born 1982, Tokyo, Japan) lives and works in Tokyo. Besides traditional medium, the multi-talented artist has also expanded her boundaries beyond painting by expressing artistic value into textiles, books, and performances. Yuna’s innovative style has been awarded and praised in public collections and spaces. With inspirations from ikebana flower arrangements and Japanese gardens, she weaves lights and colors onto the blank canvas, bringing to life her thoughts and memories. If you have followed her work, you know her painting technique is full of joyful color and intriguing lines that represent both the strength and vulnerability of plants and insects. She turns metaphorical representation to maternal richness with a refined design that continues a gorgeous tradition of Japanese decorative society. 

Installation view of Yuna Ogina’s “RELATE” . Courtesey of Mizuma & Kips.

But the COVID-19 imprisoning experience was turning Ogino to a new dimension and forcing her to see human struggle in the whole. The outbreak forced her stay at home life to become a central focus, with little emotional connection to allow her to see humanity and suffering without gender, age, and race. This newfound understanding of we (the whole world) are all suffering under the pandemic changed her palette and inspired her to produce figurative oil paintings in a 7-foot-high canvas. They are debuted at Mizuma & Kips Gallery (324 Grand Street, New York, NY, November 10th – December 7th, … Click here to read more

Lily Kostrzewa speaks with Aurora Robson

Aurora Robson is a multi-media artist known predominantly for her meditative work intercepting the plastic waste stream. Her practice is about subjugating negativity and shifting trajectories. Her work is a formal meditation on recurring nightmares she had as a child which she hybridizes with forms found in nature. Robson was born in Toronto in 1972 and grew up in Hawaii. She lived and worked in New York City for over two decades during which time she studied art history and visual arts at Columbia University. Recently, Robson moved to the Hudson Valley to raise her two daughters with her husband Marshall Coles.

Installation view of Remnant Romance Environmental Works: Idelle Weber and Aurora Robson.
Courtesy of Hollis Taggart.

Because of my personal interest in female artists, I took the opportunity to interview the environmental artist Aurora Robson regarding her recent two-person exhibition at Hollis Taggart Gallery with her collaborator the late environmental realistic painter Idelle Weber (1932-2020).  Aurora Robson uses mostly plastic waste debris as her main medium to create her artworks. For her, plastic waste materials’ effect on the environment is of crucial concern. This concern is evidenced by her powerful and often colorful artistic representations. 

As a recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts grant, she worked at Penn State University to develop an exhibition with plastic waste debris. Her work there solidified in her what I call the four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink. 

One might wonder what plastic waste debris has to do with fine art. Well, as it almost always happens, artistic representations are a most powerful form of education. For me, Aurora’s Creations are impactful yet attractive. 

As I talked with her, I started with her making process. She first explained that color was important … Click here to read more

The Elixir of Ataraxy in a Sea of Trouble

For nine long months the United States has been facing severe distress from the coronavirus forcing the closing of galleries, museums and art centers in New York City. But WhiteBox Harlem continues to independently operate as a community engaged nonprofit venue, a beacon for art lovers for 22 years despite facing numerous crises over the years. Over two decades, it has nurtured many outstanding artists in New York City and abroad, continuing its mission as an experimental center for experiencing new art with social èlan. 

“Exodus V: Aesthetics in the Political” is an exhibition curated by New York-based Kyoko Sato. This remarkable curatorial creates new metrics putting under scrutiny a diverse, singular group of 17 contemporary expat Japanese women artists aged 31 to 84 who chose to emigrate to New York to continue and expand their careers in a less constrained atmosphere than back home. Due to the increasing number of practicing female artists in the art scene in the past 30 years, art museums in Western countries have begun to have many feminist inspired exhibitions awakening the public’s attention to this voluminous subject. Most exhibitions tend to emphasize the inequality between men and women, or talk about women’s sexuality openly such as women’s awareness of the autonomy of their bodies. Time and again, some of these thematic shows unfortunately become cliché. In the spirit of finding a differential, I was quite curious to see how “Exodus V” may be different from many of these other women’s exhibitions I have witnessed.

Image courtesy of WhiteBox Harlem

At the opening reception I went through the entire exhibition and interviewed several of the exhibiting artists. I must confess my experience and exchanges observing the whole affair felt like an awakening stream of fresh … Click here to read more