Newly Selected Artists: Elaine Qiu, Kim Richards, and Alexandra Chiou, March 2–March 31, 2024. The opening reception is Friday, March 1 (“First Friday”), 6 to 8 p.m
Every Place We’ve Been
How have the events of the past years, from the pandemic to renewed global conflicts, affected our collective consciousness? How should we move forward in the remaking of this post pandemic world? Initially a simple chronicle of life in quarantine, the exhibition, Every Place We’ve Been, dives into the disorienting experiences of the last years on both collective and personal levels. Using images culled from various archival sources, as well as personal snapshots, the exhibition examines how history becomes a collective embodied memory and draws attention to the boundaries between the personal and the public.
I have always tried to understand our existence—this life and our relationship to one another. My lifelong curiosity, which first led me to journalism, now fuels my passion for art. Both disciplines are, for me, are exploratory lenses that allow me to look more deeply into what lies beneath the surface of things. The tension between the seen and unseen is the common thread running through my work. I seek to give an image to the unnamable and a voice to the unspeakable. Initially a writer, I value the ancient power of storytelling. Viewing myself as both a chronicler and a participant of our time, I work to preserve a fragment of a larger narrative while providing a unique perspective on the complexity of our human experience. My work focuses on time, memory, and identity while searching to understand not only who we have been but who we can be.
Elaine Qiu is a multidisciplinary artist who works in painting, printmaking, installation, and video. Hovering between abstraction and representation, her work explores the liminal spaces between reality and fiction, past and present, and physical and psychological, and tells stories about memory, time, and change. In her work, Qiu offers a meditation between life’s seen and unseen, drawing attention to the tension and flow between the personal and the public. Qiu holds a MFA from University of Maryland, and a BFA from George Mason University.
Into the Wilderness
Into the Wilderness is a metaphor for our lives. We can be lost in challenging and impossible situations—not knowing what may lie ahead. It can be scary if we are alone or don’t have some form of guidance and protection. Kim Richards aspires through these paintings to give the assurance that we are not alone. We have the ultimate guide and protector who helps us to navigate and survive this wilderness—God, via the Holy Spirit and His angels. The paintings in this exhibition embody a narrative of being called by God to help us face the unexpected challenges that lie ahead, so that we can travel through the wilderness, restored and at peace.
As a painter, creating representational works primarily in oils and acrylics on canvas and wood, I am most interested in producing contemporary Christian art that conveys the messages of hope and encouragement found throughout Biblical scripture—transforming these abstract concepts into a concrete visual form that the viewer can understand. So much of the media we ingest each day points to a world that is lost in discontentment, hurt, and fear. My art seeks to tell the world how to NOT be consumed. The concepts central to my works materialize in my mind’s eye during my daily routine of reading and meditating on biblical scriptures and listening to guided meditations. After deciding to move forward with an idea, I tend to take a classical approach in my paintings—working in layers, progressing from darks to lights.
Virginia born, Kim Richards is a self-taught visual artist focusing on figurative works in oil and acrylic, on canvas and wood. Her love of art began as a child and continued into her adult years, seeping into the corporate career she currently maintains to provide for her family. Although not formally studied in the arts, Richards participated in many art classes while in college, as well as classes through local studio schools, such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VMFA). Richards grabs every moment she can in early mornings, late evenings, and weekends to devote time to creating art. She has participated in many art exhibits and events (25+) at locations such as the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria VA, the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts gallery in Fredericksburg VA, Art Works in Richmond VA, and art fairs, as well as several others.
Remember / Renew celebrates the life and legacy of Alexandra Chiou’s late father and her healing journey after his passing. In the exhibition, Chiou gives physical form to abstract concepts and feelings such as hope, love, joy and wonder, which defined the wonderful life and time she spent with her father. Many of her recent works focus specifically on memories of her childhood home in Virginia. After her father’s passing, her family made the difficult decision to move away, leaving behind a house filled with cherished memories. Several pieces in this exhibition are about coming to terms with this change and finding peace and healing in memories of home, love, and family.
My latest series is about finding healing after personal loss. I draw on nature and memory to create dimensional works on paper; each layer embodies the multitude, depth, and complexity of emotions felt during the healing process. While there can be moments of sadness, I focus on the moments of peace, joy, and beauty in my work.
I am drawn to paper as it is a very understated and resilient material. It can be fragile and delicate but also strong and sturdy. I paint, cut, and arrange various shapes and colors as if I am piecing together a puzzle; each shape, line, and color is a hint, trace, and impression of nature and memory.
Alexandra Chiou is a visual artist who draws on nature and memory to create layered, dimensional works on paper that give physical form to abstract feelings and concepts such as hope, joy, resilience, and wonder. Chiou's work has been exhibited nationally at galleries including Abigail Ogilvy Gallery (Boston, MA), Launch LA (Los Angeles, CA), Newport Art Museum (Newport, RI), and Weatherspoon Art Museum (Greensboro, NC), and internationally at venues including the US Embassy in Ethiopia. Her work is also in the public collection of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. A native of Richmond, Virginia, she currently lives and works in Cambridge, MA.
Image Credits (Top to Bottom):
Elaine Qiu, Every Place We’ve Been, 2024, Ink, silk screen, markers, acrylic on Yupo paper. Dimensions varied; Kim Richards, Into the Light, 2022, oil on wood, 12 X 12 in; Alexandria Chiou,This Path of Gold You Laid for Me, 2021, ink and cut paper, 35 x 35 in (unframed); 40.5 x 40.5 in (framed)