“Allusions of Modesty” Q&A Part II
By Lynn Lieu
Can you tell us about your pieces of work in this exhibit? What were your inspirations? What can our readers expect from this body of work?
So, in reference to what I mentioned [before], the work that I make draws its inspiration from these linguistic departure points that prompt a lot of research and writing, both academic and poetic. But more poignantly, the overall importance of what I end up making focuses on human connections and the spaces we occupy within the landscape— physically, emotionally.
I created this new work specifically forRiversideArt Museumbecause it felt important for the pieces to fill and inhabit the spaces in an integrated, yet independent way—the way people are parts of communities, yet are individuals. And the way that traces are left behind after we leave a place, either through physical presence (foot steps or architecture for example) or in memory, where only the moments of having been there are left, but no physical trace.
I have been wondering about this question of expectation for a while now. I think it goes hand-in-hand with intention. I recently said to a friend that I have no intention of trying to teach anyone with my work, but to rather invite contemplation and independent thought. I think this is why my work is narrative, but not figurative.
If I showed figures or faces in my work it would have a specific “identity”—I encourage people to find themselves or others that are unique to them. It gives more ownership to the viewer.
So, the reoccurring themes throughout your work reference 1800/early 1900 philosophy and literature. Do you have any formal or informal background with philosophy and/or literature?
For me, the things I like become life-long practice and interest. I am a big supporter of self-taught artists and writers, and look at a lot of folk art practice for inspiration, in addition to practices that are passed down by generations within families. In undergrad I studied pop culture, early 20th century art and women’s history, and apply that history to my art-making. But now that I am in the M.A. program at CCA for Visual Criticism, I’ll have an M.A. that says “I have formal training in this”—but really what matters is what you bring to each situation and being open to all kinds of knowledge sources, whether art-making or regarding life-ideas.
What about 1800/early 1900 philosophy and literature inspires you?
Because I question life and communication so much, I go to the philosophers frequently to feel normal, to be honest with you—because if it was not for them questioning their current time, change would not have happened—society would not have evolved the way it has, for better and for worse.
Last year I made a lot of work that stemmed from Plato’s “Timeaus” and Immanuel Kant’s writings about art objects and aesthetics.
The show was called “Summum Bonum,” which is Latin “for the greater good.”
The greater good is divided into two paradoxical categories, the moral vs. the physical, and happiness vs. virtue. and seems to be the basis for every inquiry and argument in civilization that has caused strife or war. This came about during Medieval era, but it still holds because it is so general. Kant used it as a basis of inspiration for his work regarding his theories of the individual striving for the greater good, the ultimate goal of human pursuit . . . I would never expect a viewer to get all of this out of looking at one of my abstract sculptures—these are things that I think about and that I live by in order to make the art . . . I’m glad there are forums for writing or reading, such as this article, when this kind of sharing or secrets can be revealed, because it is kind of private in the sense that it is not in or literally portrayed in the art I make but it just adds another layer of connecting with people . . .
Riverside Art Museum 3425 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, (951) 684-7111; www.riversideartmuseum.org. Thru July 6. Gallery hours: Tues-Sat, 10am-4pm.