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Open Flowers Bear Fruit, on view at W&L

Solo show: Selections from 開花結果 OPEN FLOWERS BEAR FRUIT
1 May 2023–31 May 2024
Exhibition companion: https://openflowersbearfruit.com

McCarthy Gallery, Holekamp Hall
Museums at Washington & Lee University

“開花結果 OPEN FLOWERS BEAR FRUIT” presents seven photographs from artist Stephanie Shih’s ongoing Asian American Still Life series that claims space for Asian diaspora cultural history and speaks to the cross-cutting of culture, commerce, and art in Asian, European, and American histories. As a second-generation Taiwanese-Chinese American, Shih explores themes of contemporary and historical cultural dynamics of the diaspora through her still life creations. 

The title 開花, ‘open flower,’ is a Chinese phrase that means literally, ‘to bloom,’ and figuratively, ‘to succeed.’ Shih’s lush photographs evoke elaborate Dutch 17th century and other European still life paintings that are densely populated with flowers, as well as objects and foods made by Asian American artists that are significant to diverse perspectives and lived experiences in the AAPI communities. Shih’s compositions playfully invite viewers to mentally reach for a Chinese pineapple bun or a bite of Korean kimchi, and then demand a closer look that reveals layered meanings challenging the definitions of identity and celebrating the exuberance of the resulting Asian American experience. In doing so, the photographs appear defiant to the reminders of mortality so present in the Dutch still life paintings that the images mimic. 

This exhibition is made possible due to the generous support of the Williams School, the Art and Art History department, and East Asian Languages and Literatures department.  It was organized by senior curator of art, Patricia Hobbs.” –Museums at W&L

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