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“My work in ceramics and mixed media collage revolves primarily around issues of family and my Asian-American background. Cultural marginality and blending, tradition vs. Westernization, language and translation are key elements in my work. Since the birth of my son in 1987, I have been drawing inspiration from major events in my family’s history, the day-to-day challenges of parenting, and my own childhood memories of being raised in a minority culture in the United States. I use the image of a child as a symbol of innocence, potential and vulnerability. Often I include references to water – swimming, drinking, spilling, drowning – as an element which can be at once healing and hazardous.
The work in “At Home, Out of Place” is unified by the idea of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. This neither/nor state reflects my personal ethnic marginality – part American girl, part Good Chinese daughter. I have learned to be comfortable by choosing not to fit into mainstream cultures of either the US or of China. I have sought a hybrid aesthetic that represents a blending of cultures that is becoming more and more common as the boundaries between countries around the globe are blurred. I am combining the brush work of calligraphy with line work of cartooning, juxtaposing images of American t-shirts and Chinese qi pao dresses, and tackling the issues of adoption and immigration. As an extension of the sense of displacement, I have included in this show several pieces about swimming and water. These pieces also describe the sensation of a body being at home in an “unnatural” environment– afloat in a lake or river, simultaneously at peace but in peril.”
Beth Lo is a Professor of Art at the University of Montana, Missoula. Over her career she has received numerous honors including $50,000 United States Artists Hoi Fellowship in 2009 and a $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship Grant in 1994. Her ceramics are in the permanent collections of Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art at Alfred University, NY; Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA; Microsoft Corporation, Seattle, WA; Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, Spokane, WA; the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA; Yellowstone Art Center, Billings, MT and the Hallmark Card Corporation Ceramics Collection, Kansas City, MO.