The Klein Sun Gallery in Chelsea is currently presenting two solo shows this summer featuring the work of rising artists Geng Xue and Ying Zhu. Last month, both artists participated in a Klein Sun residency program at Millers Falls Art Bridge in Western Massachusetts led by Richard Widmer.
Geng Xue’s portion of the show is titled Borrowing an Easterly Wind and is displayed in the gallery’s South Gallery. Growing up in Beijing and studying under renowned artist Xu Bing, she became fascinated by Chinese folklore and incorporates ideas from the Daoist philosophies of Zhuangzi in her work that includes several photographs, sculptures, and film installations. During her stay at Millers Falls Art Bridge, Geng began to make connections between her surrounding environment and the pipes and pathways of life described in Zhuangzhi’s writings and her works feature openings and gaps in some way or another. Her sculptures are made from plaster, wood, and iron and contain several holes and passages with a surface that’s arched to form a bridge or an opening.
Geng illustrates this same concept with her photographs, some of which feature the streams and rivers passing through the trees of the forest allowing the water to pass through. Another striking image to convey this notion is an aerial shot of the spot where Manhattan’s twin towers once stood, powerfully illustrating the gaping hole replaced with water flowing into the small square opening in the center.
Ying Zhu is a multimedia artist who has studied in both China and the U.S. and examines Western culture with an Eastern perspective. Her portion of the show is titled Live Like An Astronaut, which includes installations that overturn conventional notions of sight and sound, as though living in outer space as the title suggests. One fascinating part of the show is an alluring pattern of Styrofoam covering half the floor where visitors are invited to walk along wearing plastic slippers as they enjoy the soft surface underneath their feet and occasionally stepping on pieces of foam that may pop up.
The surrounding walls are decorated with small, circular mirrors, rocks, and other objects to really capture the notion of living like an astronaut as the title of the show suggests. Other intriguing works include a set of acrylic pieces called Space Tears that depict an eye shedding a rather large tear perhaps reflecting the loneliness of being away from a familiar environment. The first piece illustrates a traditional teardrop, while the second piece features the teardrop taking on a more curved shape.
At the Klein Sun Gallery, 525 W. 25th St., through Sept. 5. The gallery is open Mon.—Sat. from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.