HEMI/MICA Portfolio

  • Artist Statement
  • I explore printmaking in relation to reproduction, life, and death. I make prints to process the often tragic news, both in the US and my home country, China, that reveals how lives are (de)valued according to their social roles and the sociopolitical climates. In an attempt to empathize with the subjects of the tragedies, I assume their social roles in my prints. In some of my lithographs, for example, I am the reproductive female who finds herself diminished by her ability to bring forth life.

    With “womb” being the Latin origin of “matrix” — a key attribute of printmaking — print media is akin to reproduction. Respecting yet broadening that connection, I strive to show the relation between birth and death, and by association, the relation between printmaking and death.
  • Your Body Is but a Vessel
  • These prints were inspired by the death of a 26-year-old pregnant Chinese woman, surnamed Ma, who had no access to epidural anesthesia and was denied a C-section to relieve her unbearable pain during childbirth. On August 31, 2017, she jumped from her hospital labor room, killing herself and her baby. Deprived of the control over her own body, she reclaimed it with her final leap.
  • Murder; Suicide (Grey)
    Lithography
    14" x 14" (x2)
    2017
  • Since China relaxed the one-child policy and is now actively encouraging families to have two children, there was a speculation that Ma’s family was concerned about her ability to carry a second child if she were given the C-section. Chinese culture's obsession with having both a daughter and (especially) a son is evident in the Chinese language: the Chinese character for "good" (好) is made up of a "girl/daughter" (女) and a "son" (子).
  • "Two Is Better Than One" (Grey)
    Lithography and screenprint
    20" x 15"
    2018
  • Self Portrait/One Plus One
  • The form and the content of Self Portrait/One Plus One together accentuate the concept of the generative matrix and that of the multiple: not only in papermaking, but also in how life begins.

    Each of the 23 pages of the Japanese-bound book had portraits of my mom and my dad blown into it as watermarks during sheet-forming, before being folded and bound. Varying both the sequence and the orientation of the portraits, each page is a unique fusion of my parents, such is each pair of my chromosomes. The end product is a representation of the genetic makeup of me as a zygote, one that would multiply to become who I am today.
  • Self Portrait/One Plus One
    Handmade paper (cotton linter and abaca), thread
    4.75” x 5.375” x 0.3125" (closed)
    2018
  • One Hundred (Would Be) Daughters
  • One Hundred (Would Be) Daughters is a 35.5” x 95.5” scroll made of 18 stone lithographs of a single regenerative matrix that extends both vertically and horizontally. It evolves from a single “pattern block” to be literally larger-than-life, just like how we begin by making copies of our cells.

    The lithographic scroll references both the “One Hundred Sons” motif popular in ancient Chinese art and the use of pattern block in ancient Chinese bronze-casting. Commenting on the current gender imbalance in China, it explores the irony of people not wanting daughters yet desperately needing wives for their sons.
  • One Hundred (Would Be) Daughters
    Lithography
    35.5" x 95.5"
    2018
  • "AHHHH"
  • As the Chinese government calls for women to have children to ease the population crisis exacerbated by the decades-long one-child policy, I utilize my adult body and my one-year-old portrait to question whether a government can turn population on and off like a water faucet.
  • "AHHHH"
    Lithography
    15" x 11"
    2018
  • To Be (or Not to Be)
  • (A work in progress)

    My interest in life and death stems from an irony that I have observed in the US, namely the lives of unborn fetuses seemingly being valued more than those of living children. Working with the entire lithographic limestone as the matrix/womb, I ruminate on the fact that we never consented to being born. I wonder what we would do if we, as fetuses, knew what we were in for. In other words, I ponder whether life is, as Confucius said, "a gift from our parents," or a curse in disguise.
  • To Be...
    Lithography
    26" x 20"
    2018