Catherine Eckdahl and Wei-An Huang

Parallel Journeys

June 17 ~ July 16, 2011
Opening Reception: Friday, June 17th, 6-8pm

Exhibition Director: Dr. Thalia Vrachopolous
Curator: Suechung Koh

Eckdahl's guardian head sculptures deal with dreaming and being transported from dark worlds through which we emerge into daylight. They are inspired by Buddhist holy images but in methodology and style are closer to Surrealism and in the way they reject Classical beauty may even be considered Dadaist. Many of Eckdahl's heads are like Japanese and Chinese Apotropaic figures, ferocious looking. They are meant to ward off evil and to protect their owner whether in daylight or in dream state. In her work Eckdahl combines unusual materials such as nails and feathery Asian birds. She uses antlers, butterflies, dragonflies, along with shamanist objects like claws, feathers, hair, and other symbolic paraphernalia. Eckdahl creates works that function in situ with their base, which she constructs with just as much care out of objects she relates with the Buddha heads such as a brush with the ink still present or the sutras burnt into the plinth. Consequently, she marries the literal multiple entendre with imaginary and philosophical theories.

Although Eckdahl's sculptures are very different looking from Huang's abstract paintings, both artistic productions are connected through Zen Buddhism on a deep cosmic level. Huang's work like the Abstract Expressionist mien before her, closely relates to Buddhist ideology in its simplicity and meditative nature. This artist's work like Abstract Expressionists before her engages the gesture albeit economically in carefully chosen areas. But there are very big differences-- in that Huang celebrates the spirit of abstract painting but also marries abstraction and Chinese traditional painting thus creating powerful new possibilities within the realm of pictorial expression. Huang's colors are modulated and soft while loaded with symbolism, and her strokes evidence the journey of her brush rather erasing it and making it impersonal. These two artists use abstraction as a way of demonstrating their willingness to transport the viewer through their interdisciplinary and trans-cultural dialogs, to places that parallel and meet.