Alumna & Sculptor Vivian Chiu '19 in Two Shows this Fall

BY Audrey Deng, October 18, 2019

This fall, alumna and sculptor Vivian Chiu ’19 has art featured in two shows, one in Richmond, VA, and one in Philadelphia, PA.

In Richmond, the show, titled Inner Personal Connections, is being shown at the Virginia Commonwealth University, where Chiu is currently an adjunct professor in the Craft/Material Studies program. The show was originally created as an exhibition for new adjunct faculty in the VCU Craft/Material Studies. Inner Personal Connections exhibits work that uses wood and other materials to investigate individual psychology and how it manifests in the body politic. In a statement to the school, Chiu said, “The work I put into the exhibition consists of work I had made my second year of MFA Studies at Columbia University. There are three pieces in the Fractured Body series where I combine wood and photography to create surreal chaotic cut interiors of my body. I have also included Screen, a floor to ceiling piece made of laser cut acrylic that splits the image of the figure behind it. I have paired this piece with five nude self portraits l had taken behind the piece.” This show, which can be found in FAB Gallery, will close on Oct. 23, 2019.

The Center for Art in Wood in Philadelphia’s Making a Seat at the Table - Women Transforming Woodworking celebrates women in woodworking. As the practice has largely been dominated by men, this exhibition intends to showcase some of these women. This show, according to the center’s website, aims “to show the breadth of the current field of woodworking, and how these makers are both expanding the edges of the field and holding down the center.”

In a student spotlight, Chiu said, “I am constantly asked to break out of using wood, but I just realized I've been woodworking for 10 years! It’s like asking a painter not to paint—Maybe that painter will dabble in something else for a little while, but they’ll always go back to painting. I've breathed in so much wood dust that I can't escape it (it also brings me a lot of joy to cut things precisely). My work is very labor-intensive and it’s hard to complete projects quickly, but I’m just focused on experimenting with new forms and techniques right now.” This show runs Oct. 4, 2019 - Jan. 18, 2020.

Chiu was born in Los Angeles and emigrated to Hong Kong at the age of three. Her interest in creating objects and the visual arts led her to attend the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA '11 Furniture Design) and Columbia University (MFA '19 Sculpture). With an aptitude for problem solving and a sensitivity towards materials, Vivian creates sculptures that attempt to formalize coincidental happenings in repetitive labor intensive processes.

Chiu has attended residencies such as Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Sculpture Space, Haystack Mountain School, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center and the Center for Art in Wood.