Drake artist Chen uses varied
Phillip Primobolan En Zweten Chen explains how he created an etching called "Flower Water" on the press in the Drake University studio where he teaches. The tracing paper (in the middle) was used to photo expose the metal plate (on the bottom), which then inked the final print (on top).
(Photo: Michael Morain/The Register)He could hold his breath for several minutes, but this time, he stayed underwater long enough to worry his buddies. They jumped in, too, and found "buy cheap jintropin online" that he'd caught his ponytail between two rocks.
So they cut him free and, in saving his life, changed it too: He had "Buy Cheap Jintropin Online" to stay in America until his hair "Buy Cheap Jintropin Online" grew long enough to braid into another tail, called a queue, which the Qing Dynasty required until the early 1910s. Men who broke the law faced execution.
Kuo eventually sailed back to his family in China, who passed the tail tale from one generation to the next until it reached his great grandson, the Des Moines artist Phillip Chen, who flew to New York this weekend to re tell the story in his own way. His ghostly, elegant etchings about his family, in particular, and Chinese Americans, in general, form a show called "Memory Prints: The Story World of Phillip Chen," slated to open Thursday at the Museum of Chinese in America (housed in a spare Chinatown building designed by Maya Lin).
"It's interesting how my family's specific history matches the history of labor and strife in the United States," said Chen, who grew up Sustanon 250 3rd Week on Chicago's north side. "But I didn't want to focus on the hardship or violence, even though it was a very harsh existence."
His father ran a Chinese restaurant. An uncle was what Chen called a "hatchet man," or hit man, in Chicago's crime ridden '20s a bit of lore that inspired one of Chen's prints, in which he drew some of his uncle's actual hatchets.
The artist himself was the first of his family to go to college, and as a young adult, he spent months on end poring over 19th century newspapers at Chicago's Newberry Library.
He read about his forebears, who fled the Taiping Rebellion and Opium Wars in China only to find new struggles here during the Exclusion era, so named for the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The new immigrants built railroads and washed laundry for little or no pay. They were segregated into cramped neighborhoods.
Miners like Kuo Chung were sometimes forced to work naked, lest they stash any gold in their pockets. (According to family lore, Kuo swallowed a few nuggets for temporary safekeeping.)
The stories eventually worked their way into Chen's prints, which he makes in the Drake University studio where he teaches. They start with objects.
For "Kuo Chung's Release," for example, Chen tied a rope around a rock and braided a lock of long black hair Comprar Levitra he'd bought on eBay. He photographed the objects and then taped photo printed transparencies over images of mining tools he'd drawn on tracing paper, which then slid into a jumbo Xerox like machine that exposed a metal printing plate to light. From there, the plate went into a chemical bath, a rinse, a rub of ink and into the heavy press that rolled out the final product.
Detail of "Kuo Oral Steroids Pompholyx Chung Release," by Phillip Chen.(Photo: Special to the Register)
The job is both physical and mental, not unlike his great grandfather's work underground.
"There are times in printmaking when your heart is pounding and you're sweating, cranking so hard and moving," he said. "Then you have to stop and wait, and the intellectual process can begin."
It was the intellectual part that brought the new show into being. Chen was tagging along two years ago to a New York conference with his wife, who teaches art history at Drake, when he met the Asian American history scholar Jack Tchen over a random lunch in Chinatown. They instantly hit it off.
At the end, "we looked at each other, and Jack said, 'This is freaky,' " Chen recalled.
Months later, the historian invited the artist to display his etchings at MoCA, along with a re creation of his Des Moines workspace, assembled from some of Chen's sketchbooks, drawing tools and family heirlooms.
"Phillip's artistic practice of telling layered, nuanced stories gets at deep unresolved human emotions," Tchen wrote in an email, adding that the artist's emphasis on physical objects "can reveal the disowned and unresolved meanings of the past for the now."
The show is one of a handful of New York exhibitions this fall that examine how America has either welcomed or shunned Chinese immigrants over the last 150 years. One show focuses on a little known group of Chinese exchange students who studied at East Coast prep schools until the Exclusion Act forced them out. Another re creates a 1920s eugenics lab, filled with documents and tools to calculate the supposed inferiority of non white races.
In "Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion" at the New York Historical Society, a copy of "Kuo Chung's Release" hangs next to a glittering 1880s dragon mask that came from a temple in the same California town where Kuo spent much of his time. The curator who paired the two objects was unaware of their connection until later.
And that's "Buy Cheap Jintropin Online" where Chen's history blurs with his art, like the images in the etchings themselves.
"In printmaking, you can maintain whatever degree of clarity or lack of clarity you choose," he said. "It's so much about creating in layers and stages. It gives you the ability to reflect on what you've done."