Lunar New Year Exhibition - Reconcile: Begin Anew

FEB 1 - FEB 16, 2022

Exhibition Date: TUE, FEB 1 - WED FEB 16
Opening Reception: SAT, FEB 5, 3-5 PM
Artist Walkthrough: SAT, FEB 5, 4 PM

Gallery Hours: Everyday, 12-5 PM


All individuals must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and matching identification to attend this event. If you are interested in attending this event in person, please read the full COVID Safety Policy carefully before visiting.

Since March, 2020, our daily life has drastically changed. During this time defined by lockdowns, quarantines and new safety mandates, we look for ways to adjust to new realities and restore the balance to our daily life. We seek the familiar, whether it's nature/landscape, memories of the past, cherished items, repetitive shapes or colors, one's cultural origins, any symbol that represents our spirit, or simply any way we can find a meaning to celebrate a day, like the Lunar New Year.

Curated by Chemin Hsiao and Stephanie S. Lee, this exhibition "Reconcile: Begin Anew" presents artworks by eight Asian American immigrant artists who live and work in New York. Going through this time of uncertainty and struggle, each artist confronts and visualizes their emotions through the lens of artistic creativity. At the same time, this exhibition reconnects the audience to the artists’ cultural heritage. We reconcile with our past and reach a new balance for the Lunar New Year 2022, a new beginning together.


Please also VISIT FACEBOOK PHOTO ALBUM for installation and opening event photos. 

Artists Feature: Sophia Chizuco, Cui Fei, Chemin Hsiao, Woomin Kim, Stephanie S. Lee, Weihui Lu, Pony Ma, and Yu-Whuan Wang.

Sophia Chizuco 

Chizuco’s froggies have their own personalities to bring a smile to their viewers, and exist within humorous or pious environments, which often remind the viewers about its Asian cultural roots. The froggies attract her because it is a good luck charm in Japan and a symbol of fertility, transformation, mystery, and renewal.

Sophia Chizuco is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Born in Japan. She earned her B.A. in Art and Education from Tokyo Gakugei University. In 2000 she moved to New York to study abstract paintings at the Art Students League of New York and earned a certificate in painting for her studies. She has been selected for a leader for “Hospital-Based Community Murals Project“ at NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine program, New York in 2019. As well as she has been selected for projectart, art and social practice, artists in residence in Cypress Hills library and SU-CASA, artist-in-residence in Young Israel Senior Services Neighborhood Senior Center. Since 2013, Chizuco has been a part of the Immigrant Artist Program, acting as a mentor at the New York Foundation for the Arts. She held origami workshop for Immigrants at Museum of Jewish Heritage and National Yiddish Theatre and painting workshop at “I am an Immigrant” event. Also She organized and curated shows for Immigrant artists. She is the recipient of both the grand prize from ArtNetwork and the Director’s Recognition Award from Period Gallery. Additionally, she won a merit scholarship from the Art Students League of New York. The artist has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Chelsea Museum (New York), the Staten Island Museum (New York), New York Hall of Science (New York), Lincoln Center (New York), the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (Japan), Makati Shangri-La Hotel, and Raddison Blu Cebu (Philippines).


Cui Fei

​​Cui Fei was born in China, and currently lives and works in New York. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as the Warehouse Gallery at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY;  Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ; the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; Museum of Chinese in American, NY; Queens Museum, Queens, NY; Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT; Jeju Museum of Art, Jeju, Korea; Rietberg Museum Zurich, Switzerland; Museum of East Asian Art in Cologne, Germany, among others.  She is a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, the Artist’s Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Art, Artist Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park, SIP fellowship from the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, and Artist-in-Residence Workspace Grant from The Center for Book Arts. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art in America, among other publications. 

In Cui’s ongoing series Tracing the Origin, she uses “Chinese characters” as the subject to explore the relationship between human beings and nature. Chinese writing originated from nature as ideograms, over time the characters were simplified, abstracted and separated from their original context, their origin is no longer recognizable. Her work takes a similar tack. She began working with grape tendrils—the found gestures look like Chinese calligraphy strokes written in grass style, then transformed them into two-dimensional works of different colors and scale or into three-dimensional works made with varied materials. As a result, the tendrils cannot be easily identified in the finished work. Different media used in this series, such as installation, printmaking, and photography are intended to symbolize how Chinese written characters have become detached from their origin; and by inference, how humans have also detached themselves from nature. Each medium used in this series is carefully chosen, while dealing with the same issue, she wants each process to bring in or highlight different perspectives. 


Chemin Hsiao
Hsiao’s mask series sets up an imaginary world, sometimes using symbols or referencing iconic movies and manga, to make sense with the past two years under the pandemic. “Dandelions Know,” now displayed as banners at the Noguchi Museum, aims to provide comfort and sympathy to the large Asian community who suffers from the anti-Asian violence at the same time.

Chemin Hsiao (Taiwan) is a visual artist based in Queens & Brooklyn (Chashama Studio Space), New York. Hsiao received his BFA & MFA from the School of Visual Arts. In 2021, his artist banners proposal "Dandelions Know" is selected as the winner for the Noguchi Museum to raise awareness to the anti-Asian violence surging during the pandemic. He was a recipient of the New Work Grant & ArtSite Public Art Commissioning from Queens Council on the Arts. Hsiao has taken part in artist residencies such as the Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts in Canada, Manhattan Graphics Center in New York & Cuttyhunk Island Artist Residency in Massachusetts. His artworks were exhibited at various venues such as the Walter Wickiser Gallery, SFA Projects, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, and Queens Botanical Garden. Since 2019, he has completed several commissioned murals for the Queens community including Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Flushing. Besides his studio practice, Hsiao has taught in-person or virtual visual arts workshops to students from kindergarten to seniors for organizations such as the Met Museum, Queens Museum, Queens Botanical Garden, ProjectArt, Queens Public Library, Abrons Arts Center, and Nan Shan Senior Center.


Woomin Kim
Kim’s multimedia textile work represents a colorful and hopeful mood to remember about a family feast and celebrate its meaning for the Asian community.

Woomin Kim is a South Korean artist currently based in Queens, NY. Through her textile and sculptural projects, she examines the active materiality of daily objects and urban landscapes. Kim has participated in exhibitions and residencies at the Queens Museum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Art Omi and Boston Children’s Museum. Kim has received fellowships and awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Noguchi Museum and Korean Cultural Center. Her works have been featured in The New York Times, Hyperallergic and BOMB Magazine. Kim holds a B.F.A from Seoul National University and received an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Stephanie S. Lee

Stephanie S. Lee is an artist and a curator based in New York. She received both MS and BFA from Pratt Institute and studied Korean Folk Art painting at Busan National University. She is a founding director of The Garage Art Center and currently working at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum. She had six solo exhibitions and was selected for many group exhibitions in public venues such as Edward Hopper House Art Center and Charles B. Wang Center. She has participated in art fairs including Scope Art Show and Affordable Art Fairs and her work has been awarded and reviewed by many media such as The Wall Street Journal and The Korean Times. Fond of Korean Folk Art painting’s bright colors and positive energy and impressed by the fact that these were painted and shared during many wars, Lee reinterprets the traditional Korean Folk Art (Minhwa) by connecting it with a modern perspective. As the people of Korea kept a positive attitude and continued seeking hope and happiness through art despite the hardships they were facing, Lee uses diamonds in her painting to symbolize one’s positive spirit that overcame hardships and obstacles in their lives. Diamonds in Lee’s painting represent that the adversity turned into something stronger and shine on others as carbon turned into diamond under extreme heat and pressure.

In her Tiger series, she reinterprets one of the renowned genres in minhwa that depicts Tiger and Magpie, by combining it with contemporary elements such as New York city street and diamonds. Because it has the symbolic meaning of protection and good luck, Tiger and Magpie paintings were popular paintings to decorate and exchange as gifts at the beginning of the year in Korea.


Weihui Lu 

Weihui is a painter whose work explores the themes of mental health, climate change, and the ways in which identities - both cultural and personal - are created through the narratives we imagine and retell. She was born in Shanghai, China and grew up in Queens, NY, where she currently lives and works. Weihui’s work combines the aesthetics of traditional Chinese landscape painting with Abstract Expressionism, as a way to explore cultural identity. By putting them two together, she wanted to express both the sense of conflict and fracture in my bi-cultural sense of self, and also to how my place in each culture feeds into my understanding and relationship to the other. 

These paintings show the artist's interest in exploring ideas about inheritance, both cultural and environmental. She explores the idea of using the landscape as a visual metaphor for the modern psyche, to examine the connections between mental health and the climate crisis. In many ways, the land and mind are both overburdened and collapsing under the pressures of capitalist demand and overpopulation. To paint these, she uses Chinese ink brushes with acrylic paints, often starting with un-primed canvas and applying gesso unevenly, or leaving the edges of the canvas frayed to emphasize the rawness of the piece. Through the visual forms that recur - a red sun, blackened and disintegrating landforms - she explores subconscious feelings around loss/yearning for cultural belonging, as well as fears about an unstable environment and an uncertain future. 


Pony Ma 

Seeking cultural icons from childhood memory to form his inner world, Ma’s work stirs up nostalgia from familiar items and invites viewers to reminisce about our younger self.

Yu-Chun “Pony” Ma grew up drawing manga in Taipei City, Taiwan, before moving to New York City at age 24. After doodling through English lessons, he received his first formal art instruction at the Fashion Institute of Technology. There, Pony discovered acrylics and, with the mentorship of Greg “Craola” Simkins, fell in love with pop surrealism. Using the iconography of pop culture and the surreal visual vocabulary of dreams, Pony’s work evokes the uncanny images concocted by our subconscious minds. Each painting is a riddle, and each person’s experiences and memories interact with the symbols in Pony’s work to conjure a meaning as unique as each viewer. The mystery is the point: each painting is a mirror, inviting the viewer to recognize the inner workings of their minds which Pony has laid out on the canvas. Like the dreams and childhood memories that inspire them, Pony’s paintings are sometimes humorous, sometimes dark, always just beyond the reach of explanation.


Yu-Whuan Wang

A New York and Kyoto-based artist Yu-Whuan Wang studied contemporary painting and sculpture, and completed an independent art research project, at the Kyoto University of Education, Japan with Shimamoto Shozo, a pioneer of Gutai. In her early studies with Shozo, Yu-Whuan found herself freed to explore an open spirit of making art instead of drawing on a canvas. Yu-Whuan also studied with the painters, Mr. Shen Zhe Zai and Mr. Zeng Pei Yao, as well as sculptor Yamamoto Kakuzi.  Yu-Whuan received a “MURASAKI” award for the 47th Kyoto Exposition and had major public and selected exhibitions internationally and in the U.S. including the New York Historical Society and Taller Boricua Gallery. She was invited by the Ga-un Sculpture group for a special guest solo exhibit in the Kyoto Art Museum, with solo shows at Ando Tadao Architecture Ayabe City Plaza, and other museums and galleries, along with outdoor exhibitions including The Global Warming Prevention in Kyoto Convention celebration. She served as a director of design in Taiwan and director of PhilosophyBox gallery in New York and currently a member of the Kyoto Sculptor Association.  Yu-Whuan’s wide-ranging art explores the relationship between nature and culture in her sculpture, paintings, drawings, photographs, and installations. When making such installations with twigs and branches, she treats the installation like a dance with the process of consciousness and the unconscious. Rather than focusing on the exact technical process of sketching or designing, she often immerses herself in the world of the picture or work, along with a sense of there being no time. 


LOCATION:  Flushing Town Hall Gallery



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