Bard News & Events

Press Release


Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—From Saturday, February 1, through Friday, February 28, Bard College will present the exhibition, The Art of Contemporary Asian Women: If the Shoe Fits and Vernal Visions, featuring works by a group of women artists of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Indian ancestry. The exhibition, which features painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, ceramics, textile, video, and installation art, will be on display in the Fisher Studio Arts Building, which is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a panel discussion with several of the artists on Saturday, February 8, at 2 p.m., followed by an opening reception at 4 p.m.

The exhibition was previously on display in 2002 at Lehman College Art Gallery, City University, and the New York Times described the artists and their work as lively, provocative, and original. The exhibition is curated by Patricia Karetzky, Oskar Munsterberg Lecturer in Art History at Bard, who also teaches Asian studies at Lehman.

Central to If the Shoe Fits are the issues of both Western feminine identity and Asian notions of femininity. Several of the figural artists concentrate on the question of sexuality and the promotion of the self, whether in personal relationships or professionally, choosing to illustrate the "sexy ideal" of native movie stars of Shanghai, Hong Kong, or Mumbai (the home of Bollywood, as India's film industry is referred to); others portray women as young contemporaries in modern-day (MTV) attire. Many of the artists use the foot or shoe as a primary object of personal identity, of their own artistic adventures and familial and cultural history.

Works in the second part of the exhibition, Vernal Visions, relate to landscape and the environment. In these paintings, drawings, and ceramic sculptures, the feminine perspective is implicit in scenes of our natural surroundings and the creatures that inhabit them, both animal and microscopic, evoking the procreative energy of the spring season.

Artists in the exhibition include Li Hong, Xing Fei, Cai Jin, Nina Kuo, Mimi Kim, Betty YaQin Chou, Il Sun Hong, Keiko Naka, Siona Benjamin, Sukanya Rahman, Cui Xiuwen, Victoria Yang, Jung Hyang Kim, Kinuko Ueno, Yuki Moriya, Keiko Fujita, Feng Jyali, and Tamako Nakanishi. In one installation, Migration, Chou, an American, displays dozens of wax replicas of her own feet in a mandala-like pattern of concentric circles to recall her ancestors coming from China as well as Chinese migration throughout history. Naka challenges the youthful, slender ideal of Japanese womanhood in her paintings Evening in Okinawa and Supper on New Year's Eve, which feature fleshy, naked women enjoying themselves, as if for the first time. The Cultural Revolution in China is the subject of the middle painting of Fei's mixed-media triptych, entitled Journey. The conformity of Maoist uniforms worn by men and women recalls the repressive society in which expressions of femininity, sexuality, and human affection were punished.

The artists panel on February 8 will include Jyung Hyang Kim, Mimi Kim, Betty YaQin Chou, Siona Benjamin, Sukanya Rahman, and Xing Fei.

The exhibition takes place in conjunction with a talk on Thursday, February 6, by Barnard College historian Dorothy Ko. Her talk, "The Artifacts of Footbinding," will explore the meaning and culture of footbinding in China. The event, which is being presented by Bard in China and is supported by the Freeman Undergraduate Asian Studies Initiative, will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the center studio of the Fisher Studio Arts Building

For more information about the exhibition, call 845-758-6822, ext. 6676. For information about Dorothy Ko's talk or Bard in China, call 845-758-7388 or e-mail

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This event was last updated on 01-22-2003