Visiting artist Li Chao offers new take on traditional Chinese sculpture
September 29, 2009
Yoleidy Rosario ’10, left, observes as Li Chao, visiting artist-in-residence, discusses his work and offers feedback to student artists. “He kept telling me I was on the right track,” she said. “One piece, he said, was ‘really cool.’ ”
Li Chao, Dickinson’s latest visiting artist-in-residence, has been on campus only a few weeks, but he already has four large-scale, work-in-progress sculptures sitting in Goodyear’s ceramics studio.
Chao is on the faculty of the renowned Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute (JCI) of China and serves as director of the JCI-WVU International Ceramic Studios, an exchange program between the institute and West Virginia University. He holds master’s degrees from both institutions.
Chao, who specializes in porcelain, is well known for his large, red-lacquered Buddha figures. A recent exhibition publication described his work as “evok[ing] some of the turmoil that is indicative of the rapidly changing Chinese culture.”
Barbara Diduk, Charles A. Dana Professor of Art, first met Chao in 2004 during her sabbatical in Jingdezhen. When they participated in a joint show last spring at Harrisburg Area Community College, Diduk decided to invite him to Dickinson, with the assistance of the Sylvia J. Smith ’73 Visiting Artists Fund.
Midway through his six-week residency, Chao is working side-by-side with students and offering feedback on their work. “The instruction is informal,” Diduk explained. “It makes it more dynamic.”
Chao also has held two open demonstration sessions and has another scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 1, 8-10 p.m. in the Goodyear ceramics studio.
“It’s interesting to see the scale he works on and the process,” said student artist Audrey McGuirk ’10. “He talks through what he’s doing and the thought process behind his work.”
The Dickinson community also will have a chance to meet Chao at the opening reception for his exhibit, Li Chao: Ceramics, on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 5-7 p.m. in the Goodyear Gallery. His work will be on display through Nov. 14.