One of Lin Tianmiao’s clearest recollections of her childhood in China was helping her mother sew clothes for the family. When she returned to China after spending eight years living in New York, she was inspired by this memory to create a technique she calls thread winding, where she winds silk or cotton thread around an object until it is completely covered and ultimately transformed. She used this in one of her first major works called The Proliferation of Thread Winding in 1995, which began her career as an artist and is included in the exhibition. Her use of the technique continues today and can be seen in such recent works as All the Same.
Lin Tianmiao’s paintings, sculptures, and installations have always been about a series of dual tensions. These are frequently played out in her works through contrasts between materials, but they are also evident in binary themes such as male versus female, function versus form, and physical versus psychological experience. Underlying all of these themes is a keen exploration of a physical experience, at times emphasizing the female body. We see this in the works Chatting and Mothers!!!.
Lin is one of only a handful of women artists of her generation born in the 1960s to have emerged during the 1990s when the Chinese art world was coming of age and gaining substantial international recognition. Her works over the past twenty years are as much about her personal journey as an artist as they are about a desire to articulate broader social issues. Through her focus on a female experience, she comments on the enormous social progress made in Chinese society during Mao Zedong’s tenure, yet she hints that some promises remain unfulfilled. Her consistent exploration of these issues, sometimes latent, makes her a significant artist of our time. This exhibition represents Lin Tianmiao’s first major solo exhibition in the United States.
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