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July Program Recap: Artist Talk at AU's Katzen Arts Center

On July 15, WCADC members enjoyed a talk by Taiwanese-American artist Leigh Wen about her exhibit 'At One with the Elements' at the Katzen Arts Center at American University in Washington, D.C. The exhibit was curated by Sarah Tanguy, who also spoke about working with Wen and her curation process. Jack Rasmussen, The Katzen Art Center's Director and Curator, introduced the artist.

At One with the Elements explores Wen's intimate bond with nature through a vibrant array of oil paintings, mixed media collages, porcelain sculptures, and thematic dresses. The internationally recognized artist explores the power of nature while nurturing a sense of connectivity and stewardship for our endangered planet.

“The ancient philosophies of my homeland, which teach self-discipline and selflessness, collide and mingle with Western notions of ego, alienation, and desire… Something of the self is lost in the resulting tangle, and then regained, only to be lost again."

— Leigh Wen, Artist Statement for American University Museum, April 9, 2023

ABOVE: Leigh Wen speaking at Katzen Arts Center about her work and process.

Using the thematic symbolism of mountains, fire, air, and sea, Wen's work takes the viewer on a journey into her garden of superscale flowers, burning lands, seascapes and melting icebergs.

ABOVE: Botanical paintings are oil on linen. For scale, the Iris (Iris VI, 2020) is 69. 4 x 69.4 inches.

ABOVE: The Milky Way, 2019. Oil on linen, 60 in. diameter.

ABOVE: (Left) Side Track 40, 2016. Mixed Media, 34 1/5 x 26 3/4 in.

(Right) Side Track 31, 2016. Mixed Media, 32 2/5 x 25 3/4 in.

ABOVE: Mt. S 14, 2018. Pure silver, oil paint, and red clay, 25 1/2 x 35 4/5 in.

Following the 50 minute talk, WCADC members toured the exhibit and enjoyed a riveting discussion about the artist, her work, and what constitutes an artist. It's these collective outings that continue to inspire and challenge members.

What does it mean to you to be called an artist? How does your work inspire and challenge others' view of the world and our existence within it?

Stay tuned for our next WCADC program where we will continue this ongoing conversation, and enjoy the sisterhood our chapter has shared sine the 1970s.

ABOVE: WCADC member takes a photo of Leigh Wen's Mid Summer Morning Glim V, 2019. Oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 131 4/5 in.

The exhibit is open Wednesday–Sunday, 11:00–4:00 through August 13, 2023.

Visit the Katzen Arts Center at American University Museum, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016.

To see more works from At One With the Elements, view the exhibition catalog HERE.

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