A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Ting, Mary

Other Names: 丁維敬


"I am Chinese-American visual artist working in a variety of formats from installations, sculptures, drawings, prints, to artist’s books. My work refers to memory, family and Chinese folk culture. Within my visual language of limbs, beaks, wounds, roots and Chinese symbols, lies a narrative. Psychological and sociological issues of isolation, endurance, and silence embody my forms. I view my pieces as visual poems; stories harsh and frightening but [ones] that are seldom told and lay deep within our bones. The work is personal, contemplative, and dark. It is the 'memory collections, diaries of nightmares and sadness' within us that interests and inspires me.

The objects or drawings that I create can be considered as vestiges of lost memories, the residue of emotion and time. Using materials such as paper, wax, and wire, the work has a fragility in form yet gives the illusion of movement, continuum and survival. Much of the work is obsessively crafted in a traditional fashion, with much emphasis on texture and nuance.

I have always had a deep respect for the handicrafts made in anonymity and the quietness of the home. I am fortunate to have grown up in a home where I was taught to embroider, weave, sew, bead, cut and fold paper. Tales of the rabbit on the moon, menacing Door Guardians, stone lions, and the merciful Guanyin revolved in my mind. This eventually [led] me to journey to the remote villages in Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Hebei Province, China. Roaming the mountains in the depth of winter, I sought to learn from the elderly women of these impoverished areas where ancient folk superstitions and crafts remain fundamentally unchanged.

I have now returned to New York, but the yellow earth and trees of Shaanbei lay heavily in my heart. Though the human spirit prevails, the land is hauntingly still, resonant and layered in glorious and tragic history. It is my hope to create work that is evocative and imbued with layers of emotion, memory, and metaphor."

Mary Ting, Artist Statement, [1999]

Gallery of Selected Works