Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wood Horse - a group exhibit commemorating the Chinese New Year

Jade Rabbit
Nick Gucker ©2014

New Year ~ Nian Beast
Nick Gucker ©2014

Year of the Horse
Nick Gucker ©2014

I was invited to be part of Wood Horse - a group exhibit commemorating the Chinese New Year at Cloud Gallery on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Jan. 9th, curated by incredible assemblage artist Yevette Endrijautzki.

I ended up doing three pieces involving, for the most part, Chinese New Years.

"Year of the Horse" is based on this years Chinese astrological Symbol, the Wood Horse.  I added a basic new years couplet that reads a little something like this:

"family growing finance flourishing peaceful house
happiness longivity both possessed house always honorable"

"New Year ~ Nian Beast" is my take on the Nian beast that shows up every new year to eat village crops, chew on villagers and consume the children.
The color red, fireworks and the sounds of chopping and preparing food scares this horrible beast away, so the story goes.

"Jade Rabbit" is a bit more of a departure, using the idea of the lunar new year, I wanted to do a piece based on the moon legend of Chang'e. In one variation of the tale, which may be the Japanese version, Chang'e arrives on the moon in the form of a frog, and even though it's not the Chinese version, it inspired me to do the frog. The rabbit is the Jade Rabbit who's constantly pounding away with it's pestle and mortar, concocting new elixirs.

The Joss paper backgrounds were my wife, Denise's idea. I'd purchased some Joss paper but wasn't sure how I was going to incorporate it into my artwork. I really like the idea behind the Joss paper, aka Hell Money or Spirit Money. Burning the money to pay down the moral debts of family memebers who've past into the spirit realm,  so when reincarnated, they would have a renewed and clean spirit. I thought this resonated nicely in paying down your debts for the new year in wanting a fresh start and shedding the past woes of the previous year.

Artists involved in this group show are:

Photography by Cathleen Shattuck
Mixed Media by Yuko Ishii
Drawings by Nick Gucker
Calligraphy and Chinese ink & watercolor paintings by Edward Lee
Origami Art by Sonya Stockton
Paintings by Steve Gilbert

Happy 2014 and may this year bring prosperity and happiness to you all!

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