The Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College presents an exhibition of works by Marlene Tseng Yu, Nature and Cosmos, 1966-2010
Organized in conjunction with Queens College’s “Year of China,” this 40-year retrospective of brilliantly colored paintings and murals by internationally recognized Taiwanese-born artist Marlene Tseng Yu displays the power of nature and the artist’s visionary fusion of traditional Eastern and modern Western form and content. Recent retrospectives in Beijing and Shanghai, and major exhibitions in Prague, Taipei and New York, have put her on the map as a contemporary artist of no-little-significance. To date, she has had 63 solo exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and the Far East, which have been reviewed in nine languages in over 170 publications. Her works are included in more than 1000 public and private collections.
From 1969 to 2007, Tseng Yu lived and worked in SoHo; in 2008, she opened a studio in Long Island City. Her rigorous training in classical Chinese art, followed by study and teaching in Colorado in the 1960s, gave her the masterful skill that brought her early recognition. Acclaimed for their calligraphy and free brushwork, her 12×36-foot canvases have drawn comparisons with the monumental works of Jackson Pollock and his colleagues, who sought to envisage the sublime. Tseng Yu has achieved this, and her life-long concern with the paradoxical fragility of the environment has led her and her husband, James, to found the Rainforest Art Foundation, to support and exhibit like-minded artists, poets, and writers.
Paintings on paper and canvas selected from the many series of her long and prolific career show the artist’s development from figuration in the “Dream” series to abstraction in the “Forces of Nature” series, culminating in the colossal murals for which she is renowned. Nature and Cosmos is a primary, ongoing theme that reveals Tseng Yu’s inspiration in the forms and energies of natural and cosmic phenomena. Overwhelming in their radiance and outsize proportions, these works mirror the staggering beauty and power of nature—abstractly capturing its intensity and diversity, from cascading avalanches to melting glaciers; from the intimate structure of cellular systems to crystals of minerals and ice.