This is Us: Fou Shop Holiday Show Installation View, photograph by Patricia Chen. ©2016 Patricia Chen, courtesy Fou Gallery
Text: Echo He; English Translation: Echo He, Jaymee Sheng.
December in New York is not that cold yet, which makes a light snow day a pleasant surprise. It falls on the snowflake ornaments on Fifth Avenue, on the scarlet rose bushes in the strawberry field in Central Park, on the white tent next to the ice rink in Bryant Park, and on the wooden frame of a brownstone building in Brooklyn - this is the home of Fou Gallery, an apartment gallery and creative lab.
Night deepens. Light on the second floor of the gallery is still on. Tao Xian, having just finished the last oil painting for an exhibition at Gallery 456 in January, is composing a mural on a blackboard with fluorescent chalks of green, pink, and canary yellow flitting around. The quivering Rockefeller Center Christmas tree perceived in a moving camera lens is where her inspiration comes from. The real Christmas tree will soon be forgotten after the short holiday season. What’s captured in the image is a phantasm in the shift of time, carrying all sorts of emotions - joy, melancholy, reminiscence.
Michael Eade is working on his tempera studies. These small works are studies of his well-known series “The Tree of Life.” Michael applies the traditional tempera-painting techniques on wood panels and raises parts of the painting in 22k gold leaf. During his study, he realized that the motif of “The Tree of Life” can be found in different cultures. Therefore, the series become practices to combine Eastern and Western landscape traditions: “Evolving together, filtered through my painting process and heavily referencing each other, these paintings sustain a dialogue amongst themselves while providing different vistas of the remarkable Central Asian wild.”
In a studio adapted from an abandoned factory in Long Island City, Michele Fan, founder of Atelier F, sits quietly at the table. A new batch of ceramics just came out of the kiln. Waterdrop pottery sets are arranged neatly in front of her. She glazes them one by one patiently, letting the color drip naturally around the rim. These earthy tones will surely bring a fresh breeze to the holiday show.
Founded by Liu Ye and Hsinchun Wang, HCWD Studio is also in Long Island City. An unexpected meeting with Michele Fan at Fou Gallery led to a new collaboration - WA series tablewares. Inspired by the wavy structure of recyclable corrugated wrap, the idea is to transform humble materials into everyday objects with a durable lifespan. HCWD Studio also collaborates with artist Jojo Chuang to create ISOGrid mirror, an extension from Jojo Chuang’s distinctive Isometric series. The diamond/cube-shaped mirror is the basic unit of the isometric grid. Additionally, the reflective surface in the grid system extends the horizontal depths and plays with the viewers’ perceptions of dimensionality by providing such unique experience.
All the ceramics at GEZIceramic are hand painted and fired by Gezi Cao. She documents fragments of city life and odd iridescent dreams with illustrations. Each piece of ceramic has its own illustrated story and can be displayed as an artwork, or used as daily kitchenware. Gezi hopes that the person who takes them home will also bring their stories, and keep dreaming new dreams.
Inside an apartment in Queens, Teng Teng is delineating a miniature from Microcosmbytengteng intently. She paints one after another colorful mini universe on a coin-sized silver frame, from sections of masterpieces by artists like Botticelli or Matisse to a scene around the street corner to the mortal world. After finishing each miniscule painting, she frames it carefully. The miniscule painting can then be hung on the wall for people to admire or worn around the neck as an exquisite piece of jewelry.
WE LIVING is a furniture brand founded in New York in 2016. Two founders Yifan Yang and Kaichuan Wang use “WE” to stand for West & East. This describes their design approach--a celebration of Western contemporary and Chinese traditional furniture making. The Dovetail End Tables are used as the special displays for the holiday show. Dovetail joints are both structure and design element, which create a beautiful two-tone contrast with table top. In addition, WE LIVING is going to launch The Dovetail Incense Holder. Simply constructed by the dovetail mechanism, the incense holder presents an abstract miniature landscape of mountain and river to offer a moment of Zen. Incenses were used to measure time in ancient China, and this design specially showcases a horizontal trace of time passing by.
Poché Arts will present The Zodiac Calendar, inspired by ancient Chinese mythology about twelve animals heading for a race on the emperor’s birthday to win a year named after them. Designed by Minglu Zhang, the popular icons were given a new architectural interpretation with imagined construction of walls, stairs, and columns.
Ceramic artist Renqian Yang, who teaches at St. Lawrence University in Upstate New York, works diligently in this holiday season. As the school goes on break, the campus is quite serene. It helps her focus on polishing each piece of work. She is working on ceramic sculptures, and oil paintings for a solo exhibition in January 2017 at Fou Gallery, as well as on delivering a new series of mugs, bowls, and vases for daily use from her brand Ren Studio for Fou Shop’s holiday show. These ceramic wares look like three-dimensional abstract paintings with oriental color scheme and expressive painting techniques.
Zhang Lu is working on multiple projects as well. Her works are shown in an exhibition currently on view at the Museum of Chinese in America and working part-time at Greenwich House Pottery. Dusty World Pottery is a brand she created in her spare time, which focuses on unpolished Japanese-style potteries, sake sets for two, and raw water jars like those in Dutch still life paintings.
This is Meiyi Yang’s first Christmas holiday in New York. She came to New York City after graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology and started her own studio afterwards. For the holiday show she’s bringing a series of experimental silver jewelry from Meiyi Yang Jewelry, which expresses the three steps of love - flow, melt, vanish. She wants to use jewelry as a new language for debating love in our time - “No matter how sincere the promises were, people are just doing things unrelated to love under its name. Everything will go back to the beginning.”
Another creator who tells stories with her work is Echo He, who founded Chapeau Echo in 2013. Each hat is handmade and has a story behind it. She created a special holiday series for the show. Titled after classic holiday songs, each features a holiday themed vintage jewelry piece that Echo carefully selected from all over the world. Shining Christmas tree, modern reindeer, witty Santa Claus and crystal snowflakes are transformed into lyrics and come into new lives.
Outside the window the snow is getting heavier and heavier; inside, the chalk powder is sprinkling like a mini snowfall. Still image of the fragment slowly unfolds on the blackboard, as if echoing the undying Christmas lights of Rockefeller Center in the distance. Just a bit more finishing touch, we are waiting to share the holiday with those we cross paths with.
Create a Memorable Christmas Together
我们的节日 - 否商店圣诞市集
艺术家迈克尔 ·伊德(Michael Eade)将呈现生命之树系列蛋彩画小稿，这些15厘米左右的小画用传统蛋彩画的技巧绘制在木板上，镶有22K金叶，是他的代表作生命之树的局部片段。经过研究，他发现，在埃及、印度、中国，不同的文化之中都有生命之树的形象，扎根土地，聆听风声，生长、开花、结果，在春夏秋冬的循环往复中与自然相联系。
刘燁和王新钧创立的炘工作室(HCWD Studio)也在长岛市，在否画廊的聚会上认识了樊小韵，这次相遇促成了两个工作室新的合作项目——瓦系列(WA Series)桌上小物， 受可回收瓦楞纸的启发，把临时性的、具有短暂意象的材料巧妙地以陶土翻造，使其转变为耐久的、可以长期持续使用的日用小品。 此外，他们也与艺术家Jojo Chuang 合作创作了ISO墙上装饰镜系列，通过产品设计的方式延伸了Jojo的《等角轴测》系列(Isometric)，以等角轴测网格的基本单位——菱形方格为出发点，创造出一个打破平面、带入虚实空间的独特体验。
WE LIVING原创设计家具品牌今年在纽约成立。两位创始人杨伊凡和王凯川将WEST + EAST缩写为WE，旨在将东西方的美学杂糅于家居产品中。WE LIVING的最新设计燕尾榫边桌是本次市集的特别陈列，把中式木作的榫卯结构燕尾榫优化并融入到西式的简约设计中；同系列推出的燕尾榫香台则是另一个富有禅意的家居小品，燕尾的结构原理，假以实木和金属的材质配合，呈现出一个抽象而迷你的山水图景，赋予焚香，这一中国古人用以丈量时间的方式，一种更优雅的姿态。
Poché Arts出品的十二生肖日历用建筑的语言给予了十二生肖的形态一个新的解释。由Minglu Zheng设计的日历把动物的骨骼用建筑的结构搭建起来，重新定义的物体的尺度与空间。
张璐也要兼顾几份工作，她参与创作陶瓷雕塑正在美国华人博物馆参加展览，同时也在格林威治陶瓷工作室兼职，尘(Dusty World Pottery)是她业余时间创立的品牌，有日本风格的粗陶器皿，有适合两人小酌的清酒套装，也有荷兰静物油画一般的粗陶水罐。
这是杨美伊在纽约的第一个圣诞节。她从罗彻斯特理工大学毕业后便来到这里，从一家首饰设计公司辞职后成立了自己的工作室Meiyi Yang Jewlery。这次圣诞集市她将会带来自己工作室设计的银饰系列，以爱的三个步骤为灵感 - flow (流动), melt (融化), vanish (消失)。杨美伊认为爱通常分为这三个步骤：“不管当初的海誓山盟多么真挚，人们只不过是以爱之名在干着与爱无关的事罢了，一切最终将回到起点。”