Fay Ku: Double Entendre
November 20 – December 31, 2009
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO — Eight Modern is pleased to announce its upcoming show, Fay Ku: Double Entendre.
The exhibition, which will feature a number of new works on paper, coincides with the artist’s invitation to create a print at the University of New Mexico’s Tamarind Institute. During her residency, Ku will collaborate with Tamarind’s master printers to produce a limited-edition lithograph, a proof of which will be on display during the artist’s show at Eight Modern.
“I think my work will lend itself quite well to printmaking” Ku says. “I wish more people who liked my work could have it, so it makes my work more democratic if I could get into printmaking.”
Born in Taiwan in 1974, she moved to rural America at age three, and her art draws on the culture and art history of the two disparate cultures in which she was reared. Though the negative space and restrained use of color in Ku’s work recalls traditional Asian art and her draftsmanship and focus on the figure is more characteristic of Western art, the end result is very much a product of the artist’s own vision.
Provocative and playful, Ku’s beautifully-executed drawings pair a sexually-frank wit with uncanny tableaus featuring solitary reveries and mysterious social rituals enacted by an array of id-dominated young adults and children. Recent works depict the symbiotic, often carnal, coupling of human figures with fish or birds.
Though her influences range from Chinese fairy tales to contemporary politics, Ku is primarily inspired by what she describes as the negative “residues” of human culture.
Earlier this year, while working in advance of a September Paris exhibition, Ku was somewhat surprised to see a new type of figure appear in her art.
“I’ve always had young children, mostly girls, and around 2006 I had women come onto the scene [as] protagonists, not just secondary characters. And then I had boys show up,” Ku said. “While I was in Paris, I had my first grown, masculine character, although he was in shadow. I thought, ‘Oh, wow! Here’s my first man…Why is he showing up?’ So I’m excited, because this is another transition period for me.”
Ku also identifies her recent spate of drawings with solitary subjects as a personal signal that she is leaping from one artistic “playground” to another.
“The work has now gotten more imaginative, and in some ways it has gotten larger, more about society and larger issues,” she says. “It’s funny, because when I go back to the single figure, I know I’m going back to more personal material. But it’s only temporary, while I try to draw strings from the personal to the world at large.”
Ku received an M.S in Art History and an M.F.A. in Studio Art from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and a dual B.A. in literature and visual arts from Bennington College in Vermont. In the past two years, Ku has had five solo and eight group exhibitions, including a solo show at the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut and group shows at the Hillwood Art Museum in Brookville, New York and the 21C Museum & International Contemporary Art Foundation in Louisville, Kentucky. Ku has been awarded numerous residencies from organizations such as the Santa Fe Art Institute, the University of Nevada-Los Vegas and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art. Currently based in Brooklyn, the artist has also received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the A.I.R. Emerging Artist Fellowship, the National Performance Network and the Urban Artists Initiative. Her work resides in the collections of the Asian American Art Centre in New York, The Contemporary Museum in Hawaii, and the New Britain Museum of American Art.