Photograph by Angeline Simon.
宴｜Found in Translation
by Mao Chen and Chris Savage
Mao and Chris met while completing their Masters of Fine Arts Degrees at the University of Calgary in 2017. The artists and, now, life partners began collaborating in their home studio in Calgary in 2020, shortly thereafter creating the collaborative studio Mao Projects. Combining different cultural backgrounds, Mao being born and raised in China and Chris having grown up in Victoria BC, the artists look to create works that reflect upon their individual and shared perspectives. They have attended residencies together in Canada and have exhibited collaborative works within Canada, the US, and Asia.
Drawing inspiration from art + craft histories and our own cultural backgrounds we present installations of ceramic works that examines cross-cultural communication through narrative forms. Referencing classical ceramic forms, ornamental and pop cultural symbols, and combined with an abstract painterly application of many layers of glaze, the works provide a pluralistic vision indicative of our individual and shared experiences. We utilize fragmented images and bright blending colour palates that interest us in their ability to convey visual information and present potential narrative meaning through themes of time, greed, sharing and growth. The blending together of these references, we feel, re-contextualizes the fragments we draw upon from the past, adding depth to the narratives while resisting a singular didactic interpretation.