artist of the day # Su Zhiguang

To add to the effort to prove that Art can come from anywhere, Su Zhiguang offers a new collection of work created almost entirely from dust. The exhibit, appropriately entitled “When Dust Settles” was recently on display at Chambers Fine Art.

Why dust? I had some theories: To meet the challenge of making something beautiful out of something ugly. To show the cycle in which our universe operates,  ashes to ashes, dust to Art. To lay focus on the idea that dust travels  and covers the world in much the same way our cultural ideas do. To utilize the transparent attributes of silk, and dust simply worked well on that surface. Or maybe because dust is just cheaper than oil paint, and Zhiguang has bills to pay and kids to feed.  Probably a little of all the above.

This collection is one of the better examples I have seen of combining big ideas into one artwork I have seen in some time. He creates this beautiful display of the merging of two worlds. With the use of semi-transparent silk, he creates overlapping worlds to be seen from more than one side. One side is representing of the east, the other the west. When looked at from either side, the viewer can still see traces of the other culture in the background. The first image shows the same artwork from both sides. In the other works you can see examples of one culture in the foreground, with the other culture in the background. This can be represented through Art, nature, or architecture. (I recommend zooming in to get the best perspective.) This offers not only a beautiful composition, but displays a deeper representation of integrating cultures. He is not showing the ways in which the cultures blended. He is literally taking things from both cultures, and laying them on top of each other.

Now why? Why is he throwing these two very different cultures in one artwork? Again, I have some theories. I think he is trying to show how two different cultures can work together in beautiful and unique ways. That no matter how different two worlds can be, there are some un-nameable forces that connect them. Or perhaps he is trying to represent something about himself. Perhaps he feels he himself is a product of overlapping cultures and these works offer some type of self-portrait for the viewer.

I am not done thinking about this….