Fay Ku

BIO/CV

Born in Taiwan, and raised as an outsider in a series of small American towns, Ku invokes both Eastern and Western traditions in her drawings, which combine remarkably smooth draftsmanship and meticulous detail with idiosyncratic, discomforting ideas.

Ku’s work is inspired, as she puts it, by the negative “residues” of human culture, such as violence and social failures. Her inspirations are many—from the morbid Chinese folk tales she heard as a child to the films she sees and the literature she reads—but her art is inspired by the things that stick with her, whether she wants them to or not. “It’s similar to when you touch something sticky, and you don’t know what it is, but you can feel it on your hand all day,” Ku says.

Her works are enigmatic, dreamlike, and occasionally zoomorphic. While her figures have aged and changed as she has, most of her established body of work shows female figures, often children, locked into combat.

Education
  • 1996     

    Bennington College, Bennington, VT
    Dual BA Literature and Visual Arts

  • 2006

    Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
    MS Art History and MFA Studio Art


Solo Exhibitions
  • 2005

    Here Be Monsters, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY
    Life Boat, Metaphor Contemporary Art, Brooklyn, NY
    MFA Thesis, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
    Good Housekeeping: Emily Bicht and Fay Ku, Tribes Gallery, New York, NY
    Where I Hunt, Lumi Art Space, Brooklyn, NY

  • 2007

    Floating Worlds: Kanako Sasaki & Fay Ku, Gallery 10C, New York, NY
    Surface Tensions, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT

  • 2008

    Fay Ku: A Survey of Works, 2004-2008, Kips Gallery, New York, NY
    Deviance, Sam Lee Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

  • 2009

    New/Now: Fay Ku, New Britain Museum of American Art  New Britain, CT
    Sleeping Beasts
    (site specific installation), National Performance Network Conference, Knoxville, TN
    Double Entendre, Eight Modern, Santa Fe, NM
    Fay Ku, Goedhuis Contemporary, New York, NY
    Outliers, L MD Galerie, Paris, France

  • 2010

    Face All Eyes, Eyes All Hands, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI

  • 2011

    Half Breeds, Sam Lee Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

  • 2012

    Are We Having Fun Yet?, Central Utah Art Center, Ephraim, UT

  • 2013

    Hootenanny, Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong, China
    Paper Tiger Army, Art Asia Special Project Installation, Miami, FL


Select Group Exhibitions
  • 2000

    Audio Venus: Women in the Arts Festival, The Elbow Room, New York, NY
    The Room, Apeiron, New York, NY

  • 2001

    Maps, Four Corners Art Space, New York, NY

  • 2002

    The Jump Arts Women’s Festival, The Brecht Forum, New York, NY

  • 2003

    Body in Motion, Bedlam in Mind, Galapagos Art Space, Brooklyn, NY
    Exquisite, Naked Duck Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

  • 2004

    Chance Encounters, Open Ground, Brooklyn, NY
    Art of the Book, Pratt Institute Library, Brooklyn, NY
    Generations.04, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY

  • 2005

    Group Show, Endless International Gallery, Shanghai, China
    15th Annual Exhibition: Aphasia, juried by Dr. Koan-Jeff Baysa, Luchia Meihau Lee & Reiko Tomii, Asian American Art Center, New York, NY
    Women’s Identities, curated by Matsumi Doeda, Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York, NY
    Characters I & II, curated by Hélianthe Bordeaux-Maurin, Shore Institute of Contemporary Art, Long Branch, NJ & Silvermine, New Canaan, CT

  • 2006

    Kid Pink Gloves, curated by Jinnine Pak, Chashama, New York, NY
    Next/Next Visual Arts, curated by Dan Cameron and Yukie Kamiya, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
    Little Monsters, curated by Tomoko Ashikawa, AG Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
    The Lady Doth Protest Too Much, Heidi Cho Gallery, New York, NY
    Bearings: The Female Figure, curated by Allen Frame, P.S. 122, New York, NY
    Pratt MFA Show, curated by Kim Thompson, The Annex, New York, NY

  • 2007

    Four Artists, curated by Eugenie Tsai. Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, NY
    Frolic: Humor & Mischief in New Taiwanese Art, curated by Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos & Jane Ingram Allen. 2×13 Gallery & Taipei Cultural Center, New York, NY
    Once There Was, Once There Wasn’t: Fairy Tales Retold, Eight Modern, Santa Fe, NM
    Working Space, curated by Tricia YunJoo Park, Cuchifritos, New York, NY

  • 2008

    Mind the Gap, curated by Cyndi Conn, Eight Modern, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2009

    She: Feminine Visions by Taiwanese-American Artists, Tenri Cultural Institute, New York, NY
    Fata Morgana, Dabora Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
    New York Group Show, L MD Gallery, Paris
    Frolic: Humor & Mischief in Taiwanese Art, Hillwood Art Museum, Brookville, NY
    All’s Fair in Art and War: Envisioning Conflict, 21C Museum, Louisville, KY

  • 2010

    Tales Gone in Flocks and Herds, Crossing Art Gallery, Flushing, NY
    Animal Instinct: Allegory, Allusion, and Anthropomorphism, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
    Going Green: Taiwan’s New Environmental Art, Taipei Cultural Center, New York, NY; Houston, TX; and Taipei
    Tamarind Celebrates 50 Years, Chiaroscuro Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
    Hunting Trophies, Parker’s Box, Brooklyn, NY
    The Great American Watercolor, New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
    The Degrees, Sartori Gallery, New York, NY

  • 2011

    Pressing Ideas: Fifty Years of Women’s Lithographs from Tamarind, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
    Four for the Future, Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM
    Move, Galerie L MD, Paris

  • 2012

    Permanent Collection, Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York, NY
    Legitimate Vagina, Miranda Arts Project Space, Port Chester, NY
    SuperHuman, Central Utah Art Center, Ephraim, UT
    and Alijira, Newark, NJ
    It Came From Chashama, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, NY

  • 2013      

    Year of the Snake, Eight Modern, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2015

    The Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT


Awards + Honors
  • 2005

    A.I.R. Gallery Fellowship Recipient, New York, NY

  • 2006

    Urban Artist Initiative/NYC Project Grant

  • 2007

    Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant
    Real Art Ways OPEN Emerging Artist Selectee
    National Performance Network/Visual Artist Network Project Grant

  • 2009

    National Performance Network/Visual Arts Network Project Grant
    New York Foundation for the Arts, Deutsche Bank Fellow

  • 2010

    Chashama Visual Arts Studio Grant, Brooklyn, NY

  • 2011

    New York Foundation for the Arts, Fellowship Panelist, Brooklyn, NY

  • 2012      

    New York Foundation for the Arts, Artist Advisory Member, Brooklyn, NY


Residencies
  • 2006     

    Artist Alliance Inc Lower East Side Rotating Studio Residency, New York, NY

  • 2007

    Weird Farm Art Centre, Wilton, CT

  • 2008

    Bemis Center for Contemporary Art Residency, Omaha, NE
    Santa Fe Art Institute Artist Residency, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2009

    Tamarind Institute Residency, Albuquerque, NM
    University of Nevada-Las Vegas Residency, Las Vegas, NV

  • 2011

    Lower Eastside Print Shop Keyholder Residency, New York, NY

  • 2010

    The Contemporary Museum Residency, Honolulu, HI
    Chashama Visual Arts Studio Program, Brooklyn, NY

  • 2012

    The Hermitage Artist Retreat, Sarasota, FL
    Women’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale, NY


Public Collections
  • Asian American Arts Centre, New York, NY
    The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI
    The New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
    The Eileen S Kaminsky Family Foundation, Jersey City, NJ
    The University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, NM


Commissions
  • 2007

    New York Times Magazine, illustration commission, May 13, 2007

  • 2012

    Artist’s Ball Artist Table Installation, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY


ARTIST STATEMENT

I work most often with graphite, watercolor, and ink on paper to create disquieting narratives, delicately drawn. Women and little girls emerge isolated against the white of the paper, recalling East Asian art traditions. Decorative patterns reinforce this association and, at the same time, contrast the dark content. Problematic relationships and issues of socialization are central themes in my work; stories, myths and things witnessed inspire me. I never have any pre-conceived notion of what the work will look like, and I never sketch beforehand. I work to discover what I am thinking, and I have to find my way to the image. I see the influence of my upbringing: I grew up in two cultures as the child of Chinese immigrants raised in all-white American suburbs. The intersection of the personal, social and cultural is where my work lives.