3rd Place recipient

Vivian Chiu

Expressed primarily through continuous reconstruction of wood, my work explores the mechanics of identity formation. I create abstract optical sculptures and intricate self portraits that reveal and conceal the female body, investigating notions of visibility/invisibility within the context of my identity as a queer Asian woman.

Raised in a conservative Chinese family in Hong Kong and currently residing in the United States, I constantly navigate the conflicts and commonalities between Eastern and Western cultures, with my sculptures reflecting the fluidity of shape-shifting and embodying this ongoing process of adaptation. Utilizing labor-intensive woodworking methods that serve as a cathartic release, I address psychological narratives and paying homage to my family’s history in factory work.

“Indifference”, “Self V” and “Self VI”, are explorations into manifestations of this anxiety. Using optical illusions and movement, these pieces explore ideas of cultural taboos and employ aspects of gestalt to articulate queer theories of perception and disorientation.

In exploring ‘Ornamentalism,’ a concept used to examine Asian Femininity and its proximity to decoration, I use the traditional technique of split-turning to create lathe turned forms that are afterwards separated and reconfigured to create new forms within its voids. This serves as a reminder that assimilation results in hybrid identities that leave parts of us exposed and in a perpetual state of adjustment.