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I-Chin Liao, Ways of Seeing

Artist’s Reception: 1/9, 5:30 – 7:30

I-Chin Liao, Ways of Seeing

Facial expressions in their infinite variety and interpretation of meaning set the stage for I-Chin Liao’s “Ways of Seeing.” Physical clues in the abstract compositions provide an occasional reference yet quickly abandon you to a sense of ambiguity regarding their hidden meaning, and that is exactly what the artist intends — to explore different interpretations of facial expression. Ambiguous thoughts lead to ambiguous expressions, which can be interpreted in a multitude of ways.

“I often struggle with opposing thoughts which bring out a different side of my nature,” explains Liao. “Combining contrasting or analogous abstract facial expressions conveys emotion, both conscious and unconscious, for seeing this world and myself.”

Having grown up in Taiwan but living now in America, Liao had to adapt not only to different surroundings and culture, but different ways of thinking. “Ways of Seeing” represents the artist’s inner exploration of a changing environment. Liao adopted abstraction while an undergraduate at Tainan University of Technology, and progressed while completing an MFA in Painting at Academy of Art University. This is I-Chin Liao’s first solo exhibition.


Cannery Suite 104

Tibor Simon-Mazula, Fidelity

Tibor Simon-Mazula, Fidelity

For those who may have missed it the first time around, and certainly for those who would like another look, Tibor Simon-Mazula’s “Fidelity” is back for a return engagement. Those works that did not sell in his debut at the Atelier will be on exhibit at The Cannery through January. His expressive large-format paintings convey an existential universality, and invite quiet contemplation of the subtleties of daily life.


Cannery Suite 108

Maria Yakovleva, The Flow

Artist’s Reception: 1/9, 5:30 – 7:30

Dance movement is the starting point and inspiration for the abstract compositions of Maria Yakovleva’s 2014 exhibit “The Flow.” An early awareness and sensitivity to the expressive power of dance led the artist away from figurative representation toward the open universe of abstraction, where gesture and motion are freed from the duty of literal description and become tools of unlimited possibility. A narrative emerges, of the evolution of an artist’s perception and the conquering of her fears.

“It’s scary to release yourself to dance while painting,” confides Yakovleva. “The choice of colors and intensity of directions of a brush stroke speak the words for you, words which are screamed by your heart.”

Maria Yakovleva chose painting at an early age, but was always fascinated by dance. Attending classes and gradually overcoming shyness to participate in social balls, she benefitted from an artist’s power of observation and courage to explore new realms of experience. She received her MFA in Monumental and Decorative Painting at the Moscow State University of Industrial and Applied Arts, and her second MFA in Painting from Academy of Art University. “The Flow” is Maria Yakovleva’s first solo exhibit.


Cannery Suite 110

Van Hong Nguyen, Immigrant–Home?

Artist’s Reception: 1/9, 5:30 – 7:30

Van Hong Nguyen draws on her personal history as an immigrant from Vietnam as the genesis for her sculpture and installations presented in “Immigrant–Home?” By posing the title of her exhibit as a question, she highlights the insecurity of an immigrant point of view. When one leaves a country for another, are either their true home? If we are citizens of a global society, to what degree are we accepted by it? Using boats and doors as thematic elements, both of which have aspects of conveyance and barrier, the artist suggests questions that have no simple answers.

“Many of us are not able to explore the meaningfulness of place amongst the peoples of the world. Many of us still haven’t explored the important relationship between the self and others.”

Nguyen’s artistic training and experience span continents as well as schools. After receiving her BFA in Visual Communication from Virginia Commonwealth University, she went on to artist residencies in Arlington, Virginia and LaForge, France. All the while continuing her studies at various schools, she completed her MFA at Academy of Art University in 2013. Public art works include a Community Space Sculpture at the San Francisco Zoo, and a mural for the Presidential Entertainment Palace in Vietnam.


Cannery Suite 112

Kaijing Jin, Transmigration

Artist’s Reception: 1/9, 5:30 – 7:30

A deep appreciation for ancient Buddhist motifs, such as the spiral and the wheel of life, guide the work of Kaijing Jin’s “Transmigration.” Patiently creating coils from woven wire, Jin incorporates the Buddhist symbol into artistic process, which becomes meditative practice. “My metal sculptures undergo a ritual of fire,” she explains. “In the heating process, the metals melt and reform, while the flames create rainbow colors on the surface. This feels like seeing the Buddha in my dreams.”

Jin uses modular casting, jewelry fabrication and welding techniques to make small sculptures and wearable jewelry. Early training in figurative sculpture left her artistically unsatisfied, so she began to explore abstract sculpture, and eventually jewelry and metal arts. Jin received her MFA in Sculpture and Art Education at Nanjing Normal University in 2010, and completed her MFA in Jewelry and Metal Arts at Academy of Art University in 2013. Throughout her work, her Buddhist background serves as an anchor and a focal point that informs her choices and processes. Jin’s jewelry has been featured in Sculpture Magazine. “Transmigration” is her first solo exhibit.


625 Sutter

Ryan McClymont, Home Front

Bridging the disparity between romantic fantasies of toy soldiers and the realities of actual combat, Ryan McClymont’s 2013 exhibit “Home Front” unites seemingly irreconcilable viewpoints into composite analyses. Concept is realized through a parallel process; a color photo of an action figure and a black and white portrait of a veteran are are combined digitally, then printed twice – once in color, once in black and white. Both photos are then cut into strips and woven into a single image, representing the reconciliation of naive romanticism of childhood with harsh reality of military service.

“Most of the toys used in this project belonged to me as a child” explains McClymont. “The action figures also mirror the fact that individual service members are often no more than pawns following orders.” The portraits are of U.S. military veterans of different branches, eras, specialties, and experiences. The idea of combining imagery to create a new identity also parallels the military experience of creating a new persona to shield oneself from hardships.

Veteran of two tours in Iraq, Ryan McClymont has firsthand experience of the disparities between perceptions of military service and the realities of combat. He currently works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as volunteering his time to teach photography as art therapy at the San Francisco Veterans Administration. Ryan McClymont completed his MFA in Photography at Academy of Art University in 2013.