Five talented young artists with distinctly different styles all share something in common: Their graduate work is currently on display in the Steinberg Museum of Art as part of the LIU Post M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition for 2018, now through May 11.
Under the theme “Veritas” (which means “truth” in Latin), the exhibit showcases the audacious creativity of Hyon Hee Cho Hartberger, Meiyao Che (Phyllis), Laura Helen Sweeney, Shidan Xiao (Joselyn) and Xiaohui Xiao (Emily).
Seung Lee, director of Fine Arts and Graduate Studies at LIU Post, is rightly proud of their accomplishments here.
“I’m hoping that these graduating artists will return home as successful and confident artists in the future,” Lee said, “as our professional faculty worked hard to prepare our students to be independent, to form a personal vision and to have a personal language to be successful in a very competitive art world.”
Hyon Hee Cho Hartberger, born in South Korea, has been active in the Korean art community for three decades. She was given the title of Master Artist in 2016 before coming to the United States. Her autobiographical style evolved from traditional Korean art and calligraphy to incorporate brush strokes and layers of texture epitomized by modern expressionism.
“One day I just started putting random colors and familiar images together,” she wrote in her artist statement. “I put owls and clouds and horizon lines together, and it came together to create the new series that I have now.”
Meiyao Che (Phyllis), a Chinese graphic designer, makes her unique characters come to life through her mastery of a colorful palette thanks to her command of spray paint and her own illustrative power. When she’s not working on a canvas, she does pottery, printmaking and graphic design.
“Exaggerated movements and characters are what I do best,” Che wrote in her statement.
Laura Helen Sweeney, an illustrator based on Long Island, makes stylized portraits in a variety of mediums that combine dreamy pastel renderings with hypnotizing line work. She’s been drawn to pop culture figures as well as portraits of family and friends that she represents in a Japanese style known as “cosplay,” which fuses “costume” and “play.”
“There is something magical about being able to capture someone’s likeness,” she said in her statement. “Trying to find all the colors in a face is like a puzzle.”
Born in Shanghai, Shidan Xiao (Joselyn) has found a compelling way to combine flowers and koi fish in her work shown here. The koi seem to swim through water thanks to her careful layering of delicate brushwork in acrylic paint and coats of glossy resin that add depth to her creations.
“Through this painting I want to convey the idea that no matter what difficulties we encounter on the road through life, our initial heart should not change,” she wrote in her statement.
A graphic artist from China, Xiaohui Xiao (Emily) uses ceramics and digital art in her work while playing with two-dimensional and three-dimensional space to render her Chinese zodiac symbol, the horse, in many guises.
“I free my mind of conventional art and set the creative stage to pursue concepts rich in proportion and pure in form,” Xiao explained in her statement. “I think the exploration of strong visual relationships often reveal unexpected imagery.”
As Laura Helen Sweeney put it in the exhibit catalogue’s preface, “Each artist has found ways to challenge themselves through the Master of Fine Arts program and evolve their artistic vision.”
The exhibit is free and open to the public. Museum hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, call 516-299-4073 or go to liu.edu/museum.