Plattsburgh State Art Museum
    PSU, Museum Home, Amy Cheng, Breathing Lessons      
Plattsburgh State University
Abba Abba, 2014, oil on canvas, 62 x 90
Abba Abba, 2014, oil on canvas, 62 x 90
Amy Cheng
Breathing Lessons


January 23 - February 18, 2015

Joseph C. & Joan T. Burke Gallery
Myers Fine Arts Building SUNY Plattsburgh
Hours: Sunday to Saturday, Noon to 4 PM
Closed Legal Holidays
Heading Somewhere, 2008, oil on paper, 30 x 40
Heading Somewhere, 2008, oil on paper, 30 x 40

One Season at a Time, 2009, oil on paper, 22 x 30
One Season at a Time, 2009, oil on paper, 22 x 30

Dusk Revisited, 2010, oil on paper, 22 x 30
Dusk Revisited, 2010, oil on paper, 22 x 30

Bullish, 2007, oil on paper, 22 x 30
Bullish, 2007, oil on paper, 22 x 30

Coy Koi, 2005, oil and silkscreen on paper, 22 x 30
Coy Koi, 2005, oil and silkscreen on paper, 22 x 30

A Rose Is, 2006, oil on paper, 30 x 40
A Rose Is, 2006, oil on paper, 30 x 40

The Awakened Eye, 1999, oil on canvas, 48 x 72
The Awakened Eye, 1999, oil on canvas, 48 x 72

Jonah, 2005, oil and wax on canvas, 48 x 72
Jonah, 2005, oil and wax on canvas, 48 x 72

Of Small Pleasures in Idleness, 1999, oil on canvas, 48 x 72
Of Small Pleasures in Idleness, 1999, oil on canvas, 48 x 72

Bumble and Bumble, 2012, oil on canvas, 24 x 24
Bumble and Bumble, 2012, oil on canvas, 24 x 24

Bulge, 2011, oil on canvas, 24 x 24
Bulge, 2011, oil on canvas, 24 x 24

Liquid Light, 2011, oil and wax on wood panel, 24 x 24
Liquid Light, 2011, oil and wax on wood panel, 24 x 24

I Am the Cosmos, 2010, oil and cold wax on wood panel, 24 x 24
I Am the Cosmos, 2010, oil and cold wax on wood panel, 24 x 24

Incubus, 2011, oil on canvas, 24 x 24
Incubus, 2011, oil on canvas, 24 x 24

Pssst!, 2012, oil on canvas, 24 x 24
Pssst!, 2012, oil on canvas, 24 x 24

You Know What You Know, 2011, oil and mixed media on wood panel, 24 x 24
You Know What You Know, 2011, oil and mixed media on wood panel, 24 x 24

Mandala-006, 2014, watercolor and oil on paper, 6.5 x 8.5
Mandala-006, 2014, watercolor and oil on paper, 6.5 x 8.5

Mandala-004, 2014, watercolor and oil on paper, 6.5 x 8.5
Mandala-004, 2014, watercolor and oil on paper, 6.5 x 8.5

Mandala-002, 2014, watercolor and oil on paper, 6.5 x 8.5
Mandala-002, 2014, watercolor and oil on paper, 6.5 x 8.5

Mandala-005, 2014, watercolor and oil on paper, 6.5 x 8.5
Mandala-005, 2014, watercolor and oil on paper, 6.5 x 8.5

Mandala Board 003, 2014, gouache on watercolor board, 5 x 7
Mandala Board 003, 2014, gouache on watercolor board, 5 x 7

Mandala Board 006, 2014, gouache on watercolor board, 5 x 7
Mandala Board 006, 2014, gouache on watercolor board, 5 x 7

Mandala Board 007, 2014, gouache on watercolor board, 5 x 7
Mandala Board 007, 2014, gouache on watercolor board, 5 x 7

Mandala Board 004, 2014, gouache on watercolor board, 5 x 7
Mandala Board 004, 2014, gouache on watercolor board, 5 x 7

Closer and Closer, 2013, oil on canvas, 38 x 42
Closer and Closer, 2013, oil on canvas, 38 x 42

Into the Breach, 2014, oil on canvas, 36 x 60
Into the Breach, 2014, oil on canvas, 36 x 60

Me Too, 2012, oil on canvas, 38 x 48
Me Too, 2012, oil on canvas, 38 x 48

Many Chambers, 2014, oil on canvas, 48 x 72
Many Chambers, 2014, oil on canvas, 48 x 72

Squaring the Circle, 2014, oil on canvas, 62 x 90
Squaring the Circle, 2014, oil on canvas, 62 x 90

Atlas, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 72
Atlas, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 72

We Spin a World, 2013, oil and wax on canvas, 48 x 72
We Spin a World, 2013, oil and wax on canvas, 48 x 72

Abba Abba, 2014, oil on canvas, 62 x 90
Abba Abba, 2014, oil on canvas, 62 x 90

Ever So Slowly, 2010, oil on canvas, 24 x 24
Ever So Slowly, 2010, oil on canvas, 24 x 24

Mandala is the Sanskrit word for ‘circle’ and is a spiritual and ritual symbol with its inception in India. The basic form of traditional mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. In Buddhism and Hinduism mandalas are employed as a spiritual teaching tool for establishing sacred spaces, as an aid to meditation and trance induction. According to Wikipedia, “[t]he mandala is a support for the meditating person, something to be repeatedly contemplated to the point of saturation, such that the image of the mandala becomes fully internalized in even the minutest detail and can then be summoned and contemplated at will as a clear and vivid visualized image.” Today the term mandala is commonly used for any centered geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically—a microcosm of the universe.

I began making mandala-like paintings in 2009. At the time I did not think of them as mandalas; the circle within a square was a formal device I used to create symmetrical, iconic compositions. A couple of years into the series I had to admit that although not strictly speaking devotional, the paintings do speak to the sacred— to the largeness of life, to being one with the universe. And that though veiling, layering, and convexity, the work embodies an exertion of life force, creating a sense of stasis in movement.

I grew up in a family that primarily valued book learning; my childhood was bereft of sensual pleasure—little music, almost no visual art. I grew up with a longing for sensuality I was barely aware of. Unconsciously, but consistently, I have used painting as a way to answer that longing. In this way visual play and visual pleasure became a central tenet of my work.

Sumptuous, intricate, ornamented, my paintings are richly referential—they call to mind a range of associations from mandalas, the cosmos, cells, lace, brocade, and more. I align myself with the long tradition of geometric and floral pattern-making the Far East, the Middle East, the Byzantine and the Baroque have long employed. I believe they did so with the implicit understanding that pattern and repetition, which are endemic in nature, are primal in their rhythmic connection to the human nervous system. In retrospect I have come to see that I am creating what my friend the artist Thomas Lyon Mills describes as worlds within worlds with the aim of revealing profound, contemplative, slow truths. I am making mandalas.

AMY CHENG


Amy Cheng received her BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and a MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York. She is currently a Professor in the Art Department of the State University of New York at New Paltz, Prior to taking this position in 1997, she taught at Bard College, Princeton University.

She has exhibited her paintings both nationally and internationally and her work is held in a number of corporate and public collections. She has completed a number of public art commissions including a mosaic column at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, a hand painted ceramic mural at the Howard St. El Station in Chicago, IL, faceted glass windscreens at the Cleveland Street Subway Station in Brooklyn, New York water -jet cut ceramic tile murals at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport MetroLink Station, laminated glass windscreens at the 25th Avenue Subway Station in Brooklyn, NY, and a mosaic mural at the Jacksonville International Airport, FL.

She received a P.S. 122 Painting Center Fellowship in New York City for ten months in 2011 and a Senior Lecture/ Research Fulbright fellowship to Brazil in 2008. She has been awarded two New York Foundation for the Art Painting Fellowships, and an Arts International travel grant to China in 1993.

This exhibition is funded in part by the Student Association, Winkel Endowment, Friends of Art, and the State of New York

Top of Page

State University of New York 
College at Plattsburgh Home PagePlattsburgh
State
Art
Museum


Copyright © 2014-2015, Plattsburgh State Art Museum.
All rights reserved. Copyright Statement
101 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Phone: (518) 564-2474

Contact the Museum: Plattsburgh State Art Museum
Send website comments to: Museum Preparator
Last Updated: January 27, 2015