A public garden & cultural center

Fay Ku

Outcasts: Women in the Wilderness
Glyndor Gallery | April 8–July 9, 2017

Pictured above:
Dogwood, 2015
Mix media on layered and cut sheets of drafting film mounted on plexi
42” x 30”
Courtesy of the artist

Ku’s work is informed by her experience as “a person of color, a woman and an immigrant.” She notes “Although I am not literally outcast or banished, my work conveys the sense of exclusion and the desire to make oneself seen.” Populated by women, her work refers to myths and histories of women who were banished or self-exiled. Ku says, “The destruction and diminishment of goddesses and female characters are typical of stories of conquest—of one tribe conquering another, of one religion subsuming another.”

The title of the work Third Time’s the Charm, Ku explains is a reference to God’s effort to create a wife for Adam. “The story of Lilith, Adam’s first wife, is fairly well known, but the unnamed wife who came after her is less familiar: God, undismayed by initially failing to give Adam a suitable helpmeet, let Adam watch while He built up a woman’s anatomy—using bones, tissues, muscles, blood and glandular secretions—and then covering the whole with skin and adding tufts of hair in places. But when this woman stood in her full beauty, Adam felt an invincible repugnance toward her. After this second failure, God took this woman away; nobody knows where she went.”

Ku sees commonalities between Nancy Spero’s work and hers in terms of the focus on female figures, creating a cast of characters and referring to mythology and narratives to address socio-cultural issues. “Spero’s work has affected the reception of my work. Thanks in part to the careers of political, feminist artists like Spero, works like mine are taken seriously.”

During her time as a Winter Workspace 2015 artist, she experimented with layered transparencies of Mylar, which allowed for deeper space in her images. By drawing from live plants and gardens, she was able to enrich the horizons that her characters inhabit. Ku’s “Dogwood” was inspired by Wave Hill’s gardens and was painted during her residency.

Fay Ku transforms myths in her work to give them contemporary relevance. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, with solo exhibitions at Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong; Snite Museum of Art,Indianapolis, IN; Eight Modern Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Art Asia Fair, Miami, FL; Sam Lee Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; LMD Gallery, Paris, France; New Britain Museum of American Art, CT; and the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI. She participated in residencies at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Sarasota; Chashama Visual Arts Studio Program, New York; Fountainhead Residency, Miami; Wave Hill; the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu; Bemis Center, Omaha; and Lower East Side Printshop, New York. Ku holds an MS in art history, criticism and theory, an MFA from the Pratt Institute and a BA from Bennington College.

Pictured above:
Third Times the Charm, (or Three Eves), 2016
Mix media on layered drafting film sheets
42” x 30”
Courtesy of the Artist

Pictured above:
Fay Ku in her Winter Workspace Studio, 2015
Courtesy of the artist

Learn more about the artist here 

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts. 

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