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  • Writer's pictureZelene Schlosberg

"... and the pursuit of..." by The Research House for Asian Art and Co-Prosperity

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

Zelene Jiang Schlosberg is proud to participate in the "... and the pursuit of..." international female artists exhibition presented by The Research House for Asian Art and Co-Prosperity, with other prominent female artists from China and the U.S.A.

In collaboration with Co-prosperity Sphere’s “The Pause Apothecary,” “…and the pursuit of -” presents an intersectional and interdisciplinary exploration of menopause and the female vision. This exhibition brings together artists whose practices juxtapose the bucolics of form and creation with social critique of the valuation of women through public negotiation and the historic dominion of fertility, and works that explore the cavernous mystique of MOTHER. We are interested to exhibiting works that invite contemplation and action towards the following F’s: Fecundity & Fertility, Family & Fortune, Form & Felicity, Freedom & Futurism.

As part of The Research House for Asian Art (RHAA)’s ongoing effort to expand the realm of the Asian cultural critique and investigation, this exhibition will also feature a broadcasted podcast/radio series that will bring together artists, scholars, and activists in dialogue about the state of feminism in China and diasporic communities. We aim to engage and collaborate in intergenerational and multicultural dialogue with the hope of introducing and normalizing conversations about feminism and activism in Chicago’s Asian community, the Sinosphere, and beyond.

Curated by

Shannon Lin, Paula Volpato

Exhibition Artists

Lise Haller Baggesen, Larissa Borteh, Amanda Joy Calobrisi, Ava Carney, Xiaowei Chen, Susanne Doremus, Zhen Guo, Hana Jiang, Xinmo Li, Duk Ju L Kim, Bobbi Meier, Zelene Jiang Schlosberg, Mary Lou Zelazny

Opening Reception:2022.09.30, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Exhibition Date:

2022.09.30 — 2022.10.19

Gallery Address:

3217 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL

3219 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL

Gallery Hours: Tue — Sun, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

White Ensemble Space

Zelene Jiang Schlosberg

I cut, paint, and arrange canvases to create hybrid works that dangle precipitously between painting and sculpture, with attention to line and architecture always present.

《抉择》,线,钉子,帆布块和帆布,53x51x7.6厘米,2019年, 蒋贞蕾 | Choice, thread, nails, canvas pieces on two manipulated canvases, 21x20x3 inches/53x51x7.6cm,2019

I begin my art making process with sketches and then proceed with cutting and manipulating the canvas. The act of cutting manifests immediately and intimately. The gesture of the blade in motion translates to direct emotion. Centered around the female body as a literal and symbolic site of contestation, agency, and resistance, my artworks attempt to disrupt the silence shrouding women living on the peripherals of the patriarchal state.

《巢》,河石,线,帆布,20x40.6x2.5厘米,2018年,蒋贞蕾 | Nest, Stone and thread on canvas,8x16x 1 inches/20x40.6x2.5 inches,2018

Most recently, I have become preoccupied with several interrelated themes. One is fecundity -- as it relates, first and foremost to female anatomy, but also as a quasi-philosophical concept for (re)generation and renewal. Despite the oppressing and oppressive state of our current world, the uterus and womb, literally and figuratively, provides answers and provocations. I do not shy away from these structures in my recent works, even if the ultimate effect is abstract, or, at least, hard to pin down. Violence against women takes many forms. Women take on the mission of giving birth to create life, and yet this is also a reason for their suffering. The nails in my works emerge from their putative art making origins to represent some of this trauma.

While form is a very general artistic concept, and of great importance to the overwhelming majority of art makers, for me, in my recent work it takes on immense meeting. Arriving at a conclusion for a work's structure is not simply a case of “choose your own adventure” but based on study of historical painting, line, and many other considerations. Even so, I often rely on improvisation to capture the subjective state of the moment. My compositional ideas stem from study of Old Master paintings, including triptychs, as well as the Eastern influence of Chinese ink paintings. For example, although the presentation of the image is complicated, the penetrable space left by the cut canvas is reminiscent of the "emptiness" in Zen Buddhism and the "blank-leaving" in landscape painting.

《歪斜》,线,帆布,钉子和墨,56x53x7厘米,2020年, 蒋贞蕾 | Askew, thread, canvas, nail and ink,22x21x3 inches/56x53x7cm, 2020

Visually, you can see the tearing of the canvas, revealing the wood that supports the canvas. This expression stems from my feelings about human (particularly female) suffering. Chinese idioms include "the heart is cut like a knife", "Thousands of arrows pierce the heart ", and so on. I try to visualize these words. In the use of materials, I specifically choose cotton thread: during the creative process, I have found that no matter how torn and shattered I ended up cutting the canvas, because of the linking of the cotton threads, the picture always comes together in the end. I think this is also a metaphor for women's forbearance and tenacity. Great and brave women can finally overcome suffering. If we are in this together, weak voices can form a powerful force to shake, enlighten and change society and hearts.

The last concept I would like to single out is simply: the future, a difficult theme to address particularly in The Age of the Anthropocene. Media and Social Media have conquered our attention, making it increasingly difficult to reflect on the future with any degree of critical thinking. We are seeing and seen constantly, yet we are not able to perceive with any degree of sophistication. My neutral color palette speaks to this tension, yet the meditative quality of the work invites introspection and perhaps even prophecy.

《礼》,木,线,钉子和帆布,112x81x 6厘米,2019年,蒋贞蕾 | Politesse, wood, thread nails and canvas 44x32x2 inches、12x81x 6cm,2019




《饰》,亚克力,线,帆布块,钉子在木板,20x40.6x3.8厘米,2019年,蒋贞蕾 | Entrelacs, acrylic, thread, canvas piece and nails on wood panels, 8 x 16 x 1.5 inches/20x40.6x3.8cm, 2019



《谋》,线,铁钉,帆布,50.8x58.4x4.6厘米,2019年,蒋贞蕾 | Stratagem, thread and nails on manipulated canvases, 20x23x1.8 inches/50.8x58.4x4.6cm, 2019


最后,我有一个简单的想法:未来,公共媒体和社交媒体彻底征服了我们的注意力,使得用任何程度的批判性思维来思考未来变得越来越困难;我们看越多越无法进行感知。痛苦哪怕一瞬间也过不去,我们也不应该放弃寻求内心的平静,就像我充满暴力作品里的平静色调,那种冥想品质而引发的反省… 给予我们力量。全世界女性终将获得平等的预言定会实现。


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