NYAA/Shanghai Univ./CAFA 2012 China Residency: Mutual Interest

On May 31, Four Academy students arrived in China to start an 11-week Artist in Residence Program in Shanghai and later Beijing.  Cory Dixon (MFA 2013), Megan Ewert (MFA 2013), Kristy Gordon (MFA 2013), and Nicolas Sanchez (MFA 2013) will share their experiences here throughout the summer.
Our frequent travels, hard work in the studio, and up close experiences in China led us to fulfill one of the goals of our residency. The 99 Degree Art Center of the widely acclaimed art district M50, served as the space for our exhibition. The 99 Art Center has spaces in Taiwan and in 2008 another branch was established in M50 which is closely linked with Shanghai University. For more information on 99DAC, click on the link at the bottom of this post to go to their homepage.

We were grateful and honored for the opportunity to show along side extremely talented artists from the Academy including faculty and alumni. The line up consisted of current students of NYAA; Nicolas Sanchez, Megan Ewert, Cory Dixon, Kristy Gordon, Academy alumni and artists; Cao Yi, Wang Yi, Chong Wong, and Academy faculty; Harvey Citron, John Jacobsmeyer, and Laura Frazure. 

work by Harvey Citron

work by Kristy Gordon

work by Nico Sanchez

work by Megan Ewert

Everyone showcased their work and individual focuses, but the entire show was brought together by utilizing the figure as a main source of reference. The work displayed an extensive range in scale from pocket sized sketchbook drawings to large ambitious paintings and installations. Different preferences in media included oil on canvas, drawings on paper, woodcut, 3D replicas, pastels, video, and photography. Just as diverse as the work was the installation process to secure our work in the large and striking space. 

work by John Jacobsmeyer
We all worked very hard to help each other install our work, but there was one person who out-shined us all. A carpenter that works for Wang Yi’s father came and was bestowed upon the tedious task of installing all of Jacobsmeyer’s prints. While everyone helped everyone else, this lone gunman was appointed to use accurate lasers and rulers to help display the worthy art. The end result was a well-crafted and meticulously measured installment of Jacobsmeyer’s work. We were all very impressed. Perfection. We were done and ready to go home to mentally prepare for the big opening. 

sketchbook by Nico Sanchez
Continuing this idea of small profiles in ballpoint, I started a new book of drawings filled with noted people we encountered during our residency. One person I included in my book was Yi’s father who also graciously provided us with his photography service photographing our work for the catalog. Yi’s entire family came to the exhibition where they all had fun seeing Yi’s father as part of the exhibition. Yi’s father had the idea to commission me to create another book featuring drawings of his family members that I will be starting immediately.  
So many invitations were extended for the show and we were eager to have people come, enjoy the work, and dip into a little Q&A with us. We welcomed a variety of attendees to the show. Guests in attendance included travelers from other countries seeking out great art viewing experiences, a group of wide eyed high school students from California who study with a famous artist and are in Shanghai to enrich their studies, students from Shanghai University whom we befriended, local art lovers who frequent M50 District, curator/writer Rachel Marsden, professors from CAFA, and many curious first time exhibition goers, friends, and family members. The gallery director, Ma Lin graced us with her presence and a photo blitz. One onlooker from Paris took a special interest to Cory and his work and purchased the painting he was exhibiting! His painting will be shipped to a collector in Paris in the weeks to come. We are all very proud and excited for him.
work by Cory Dixon
Our visitors had lots of questions about us and about our work that we were excited to answer while others found it entertaining to take pictures with us or in front of our work. Conversation about international travel, art, and exchanging ideas about other cultures ensued over refreshments and snacks. I met a trio of travelers that made a lap around the work, stopped by work. After a few hesitant glances as they matched my face with the figure in the painting, I approached them and told them that I was the artist. They asked me a few basic questions and we learned that we were actually all from same town of East Lansing, Michigan! They were actually the second group of people I ran into while in China from my hometown! Having ‘small world’ moments are not overrated. 
As the opening came to a close, we were all very pleased with the turnout and feedback. It flew by so quickly as we were all occupied in conversation and picture taking, but it was no doubt an awesome experience.

Shortly after the opening Wang Yi did a quick online search and found a number of websites featuring an article about our exhibition. NYAA is online on 24 different websites in China!


Just five days later, it was time to face the music and so the grueling undertaking of de-installing the show began. The hard work, though, came when we had to wrap everything up in preparation of shipping it all of it to Beijing! Armed with an abundant amount of tape and collected scraps of used cardboard, we were fearless in the face of uncertainty as the packaging commenced. No words-just see photos…

Special thanks and acknowledgments to:

-99 Degree Art Center and the staff including Huang Yiqian
-the director of 99DAC, Ma Lin
-Shanghai University
-Wang Yi and Cao Yi for curating, translating, and organizing the event
-Yi’s father for his photography service
-Rachel Marsden for the great review
-Peter Drake

Most currently, we have picked up and moved to Beijing and working hard in our new studio on CAFA’s campus. We have only been here two weeks and have already done and seen a lot! 

Stay tuned for our next posting as we reveal more about this incredible residency.


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