John Ziqiang Wu: Art Making
Sunday, Aug 9, 2020
John Ziqiang Wu’s exhibition explores the spaces that have played a role in his development as an artist, the teachings that inform his role as an educator, and the fluidity of the relationship between student and teacher and personal and institutional space. Wu founded Learning Art and Art Learning Studio in 2014, a workshop he runs primarily from his home studio in Chino, California, where he teaches art to students ranging from children to adults. This collapsing of domestic, artistic, and educational space, all existing as one, mirrors the false boundaries he perceives between the relationship of teacher and learner. Wu came to question the function of art and art education after years of working as an artist and educator, especially as his perception of these roles broke from the mold forged during his own art training. He weaves these investigations into an art practice that includes drawing, painting, installation, performance, and storytelling.
Wu’s exhibition in the Armory’s Mezzanine gallery is inclusive of an installation, produced in part while serving as a visiting artist at California State University, Bakersfield, that examines Wu’s teaching methods, the work of his students, and widely accepted institutional pedagogies; a series of watercolor paintings of diagrammatic illustrations that reveal Wu’s ruminations on art, education, and learning; a collection of self-published books that weave whimsical observations and fantastic interpretations of everyday narratives with emotional personal reflections; and an installation that reflects on his home studio where he works, lives, and teaches.
About the Artist
John Ziqiang Wu (b. 1983, Tangshan, China) is an artist and educator who lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his BFA in Fine Art from Art Center College of Design in 2013 and his MFA in Photo/Media from the California Institute of the Arts in 2017. Wu is the co-founder of Learning Art & Art Learning Studio, an art tutoring workshop he has run with his wife, Yinan, in Chino, California since 2014. Wu’s solo exhibition The Third Thing was recently on view at Todd Madigan Gallery, California State University, Bakersfield (2019). Wu’s work has been included in group exhibitions at SALT, Istanbul (2018); Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2017); and Pasadena Museum of California Art (2010). He also performed alongside Asher Hartman in ANNIE OKAY at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2010). Wu has published several artist books, including The Place and The People; The Lamps’ Story; and Dad’s Hands Are Smaller (all 2018); and Learning Art and Art Learning Society (2017), which was also translated into Turkish as part of the exhibition Bureau of Unspecified Services at SALT in Istanbul. He is currently an Artist in Residence at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
The artist would like to extend a special thanks to Jedediah Caesar, Todd Madigan Gallery, students of the ART 4020 Visiting Artist class, and the entire Department of Art and Art History at California State University, Bakersfield; as well as students from Learning Art and Art Learning Studio for their contributions to this exhibition.
Image: John Ziqiang Wu, An Art Chart Drawing, 2017, watercolor on paper, 6.2 x 6.75 inches. Courtesy of the artist.