Hsueh Wei is a local Oregon artist whose artwork showcases self-exploration and realization. Wei presented a collage of selfportraits that she did between the age of 12 and 22 years old.
“After coming to America, I realized that my identity and beauty is the construction of my race,” Wei said. An “art talk” called “Transparent or Not” was held by Wei on Sept. 4 in the Vivian Bull Music Center. The talk was followed by a showcase of Wei’s artwork in Miller Fine Arts Center. Wei’s gallery consisted of multiple works and photographs based on self-expression. A portion of the gallery focused on an old method of Chinese medicine called Cupping Therapy, which is used to relieve bodily tension. She learned this practice while growing up in Taiwan.
“I have [a] desire to express my Chinese self,” Wei said.
Wei was born and raised in Taiwan.
“I am a descendant of Chinese immigrants from China,” Wei said. “I look different and sound different than the Taiwanese.”
She received her bachelor degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and obtained her master degree in art photography from Syracuse University. Wei is also a professor at Pacific Northwest College of Art.
“I think Wei’s photographs of the Cupping Therapy are a unique way of showing the historical significance of her culture,” audience member Dan Hellinger said.
Wei also displayed another set of photographs that contrasted with her pictures of Chinese self-expression. These photographs were of opaque socks on women’s feet. The socks are worn by mostly lower-class Chinese women who have the belief that the socks are transparent.
“It represents Chinese philosophy of contradiction between opaque and transparent, [the Chinese] find a way to have [the two terms] coexist,” Wei said. “To believe that something is transparent when it is not is delusional.”
Wei also discussed the differences between the American and Chinese cultures. American artists create artwork that stands out, which reflects individuality in the culture. However, Chinese culture is more collective and unified which is reflected in the art. Wei said that she learned Chinese art in school by copying her teachers and doing exactly what they did. Wei attempts to create portraits that do not portray negative messages, but instead expresses the differences between her two cultures.
“I liked how she portrayed strong passion about her culture and showed it in her artwork,” junior Isabella Porporato said.
Mariah Gonzales / Culture editor
Mariah Gonzales can be reached at email@example.com