“Mimi’s abstractions balancing motion and gravitas are simply avant-garde.”
Dory Hulburt, The Horse Fly
A Little Background
I was born into a household headed by three women who had bound feet: Great Grandmother, Grandmother and Sixth Great Aunt. We lived together in an old house in Shanghai with a garret where all the children slept. One of my earliest memories was my initiation into the secret jar from which all sweetness flowed, to extract my very own bar of sticky crumbly brown sugar. Another was my stepping onto the sill of an open window beside my bed, to catch a cool wind on my face; I reached toward the patch of blue-grey sky, willing to fly. Voices behind me screamed, “No! Stop! Do not move!”
Those words became the resounding mantra for most of my upbringing. They were meant to save me from whatever misfortune lying in wait. In order to keep familial peace, I became adept at being still, and learned to thrive in stealth and silence. Imagination was my window for escape…
I am a reductive abstract painter with stories to tell. In work as in life, I am irresistibly drawn to distillation and simplification.
Most of my work springs from a restive stream of consciousness to question and relate, to stir up ripples and make waves… My methodology is to initiate, observe, wait, and respond. I do not seek absolute resolutions, but venture forth as an intrepid wanderer, unconcerned with becoming lost. I draw with charcoal on primed canvases pinned to the wall, mix my paints in bowls, and apply them with brushes. I watch and follow the colors and contours as they ebb and bulge, claiming their space and carving out their part in a narrative. When their interaction is dynamical and emphatic, they invite empathy and promise infinite possibilities. They can change hearts and move mountains; sometimes they even crystallize life’s more fleeting moments, and brighten its deeper shadows. This meditative and mesmerizing practice ultimately liberates and restores; I am grateful to travel this path, and I am privileged to share it.
“No artist is pleased… There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” — Martha Graham
“We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.”
— Henry James