Cheryl McGinnis Projects is pleased to present Hu Bing’s site-specific installation “Shattered Debris, Sheer Transformation” at the Flatiron Prow Art Space on the ground floor of the iconic Flatiron Building. Collaborating with curator Cheryl McGinnis, Hu Bing continues her ongoing project combining previous works with new pieces created exclusively for the shape, changing light and multi-faceted perspectives offered by this distinctive transparent space. Constructing precarious domestic environments from found objects, resin, latex, lights, and her unique expressionistic process of shattering and re-forming glass, Hu Bing literally breaks the medium as a metaphor for breaking with the violence and constraints she experienced under Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and subsequently her shock at the smashing of cars seen from her Brooklyn window when she first moved to Williamsburg in 1989. At that moment, instead of judging the destruction, she found her own voice, strength and power from the beauty and “drawing” she saw in the fragile fragmented lines of the windshield debris, which also freed her from art forms of Eastern traditions. Intoxicated with the physicality, danger, fear, brute force and adrenaline of the process itself, Hu Bing uses a hammer to reshape chaos into a language of empowerment. Surrounded by historic and contemporary architecture across the street from Madison Square Park’s “museum without walls,” Hu Bing’s elegant yet visceral translucent sculptures have found a perfect home in the Flatiron’s glass house viewed by close to 500,000 people a week.
Acutely affected by her surroundings, Bing Hu approaches the installation space as an element of the work itself. Designing a glass table to fit within the tip, she moors the Prow with legs made from found anchor chains. Re-forming and draping windshields made malleable with cheesecloth and resin over welded armatures and energy-efficient LED lights to re-create each chaise lounge, she also collages additional layers of glass drawings to compose the environment. As if poured from above, cut sake bottles clothed in stockings drip from iron-fashioned hangers, the stretched fabric a capricious protection from the shards. Sensuous and glowing, fluid and feminine in form, but sharp to the touch, Hu Bing’s work continues to generate light from a dark subject.
This transformation through liberation and development of new processes is at the core of Cheryl McGinnis’ fascination with the art of third-generation feminist artists and the cross-cultural work by Chinese artists who have embraced artistic freedom in the United States after surviving and detoxing from the trauma of the Cultural Revolution. What makes the work so powerful is that Hu Bing still lives and works on the edge under the influences of her past infused with the recent disturbing excesses of Chinese westernization at a time when the global economy is in constant turmoil. As Hu Bing describes, “visual art is my way of freezing a fleeting moment from ordinary life. Where I live and who I am has a great effect on my art. Sometimes I feel I do not let the place where I have lived leave a stamp on my heart, but rather that I stamp my fingerprint on the place that I live.”
Continuing Cheryl McGinnis’ commitment to arts education, she will host seminars and provide drawing workshops with Hu Bing. Cheryl McGinnis feels strongly that the more we expose everyone, especially young people to art, not just the making of art in school, but to visual thinking in museums and galleries, and interacting with professional artists during existing exhibits, the better chance we have of creating cultured, critical thinking adults, which is desperately needed in a time when people are spending hours surfing the net and watching reality television. Gallery talks and seminar schedules will be available at www.cherylmcginnisgallery.com and on the Cheryl McGinnis Facebook page.
Hu Bing was born in Shanghai and received her BFA with honors in Fine Art at the Shanghai Teachers’ University in China. Her quest to escape the political oppression in China led her to New York when she received a scholarship to the Art Students League and she was awarded an MFA in 1995 from the State University of New York at Purchase. A professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, she currently lives and works in New Jersey. Notable exhibitions include MoMA PS 1, Long Island City; Bronx Museum of Art, Bronx, NY; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; American Museum of Natural History, NYC; Master Gallery, Fudan University, Shanghai, China; The Carriage House, Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY; Frauen Museum, Bonn, Germany; Neuberger Museum, Sarnoff Museum, NJ; and World Bank, Washington, DC. Hu Bing’s work has been reviewed by numerous publications including The New York Times; The New York Observer; Glass; World Journal; MS Magazine; Art of the Times; The Village Voice; Chelsea Clinton News; and Sing Tao Daily, NY.