“Willing to Fly” is the title of Mimi Chen Ting’s one-person exhibition at the recently opened (since April 2017) Jen Tough Gallery in Vallejo, California. The phrase is taken from her statement in which she ascribes the impetus of her finding imagination to be a trusted ally and a source of comfort at a very young age, while growing up in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The selection of the works for the show was instigated by a dream:
I was attending a friend’s opening reception. As is habitual in Taos, I decided to step outside to watch the sunset. As I exited the gallery, the sun was already close to the horizon, and everything was drenched in a golden orange light. I was very surprised to see my grandmother standing there, dressed in her customary black silk pantsuit and tottering on her 3″ bound feet. She looked just the way she had the day I left home to come to the US for college. I said, “Ah Po, how did you get here?”
Grandmother said, “Well, Charlie (Strong) said he was going to take a few days off from working, wanted to come out, and he brought me here.”
At this point, I woke up… happy, and the sun was just peeking behind the mountain. On the day before, I had unrolled the painting “Icarus, So Close to the Sun 1”, the first of a series of three I did in 2013, each to commemorate the loss of three friends, Charlie, Jeane, and Steve, who had left in rapid succession since the summer of that year. So I unrolled all three canvases from their storage tubes, stretched them, sent them off to Vallejo and they became the vortex of my new show.