無極, (“Wuji”) is a series of paintings that celebrate the limitless promise of human migration; a reminder that like forces of nature, people have always found ways to transcend boundaries and bridge cross-cultural divides.
Cindy Shih often uses nature as metaphor, using an Italian fresco-inspired technique combined with Chinese brush painting. Her early interest in Philosophy and training in Chinese calligraphy led her to exploring the language and styles of traditional Chinese literati painting.
The process informs the narrative as it starts with many thin, burnished layers of Venetian plaster, constructing a textured, abstracted terrain. Sumi ink and various pigments are then mixed in, settling into the crevices and cracks as the imagery is formed. In the process, both traditions of western-style fresco and Chinese landscape painting work in tandem to guide the direction of each piece.
This series contemplates the elegance of line, texture, and brushwork while evoking the raw energy, passion, and power of forces of nature. In evoking these forces, these pieces are a quiet, passionate reflection of our own turbulent discussions of immigration today.
Cindy Shih was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Los Angeles with her family at the age of three. She moved to the Bay Area in 2005, and currently resides and works in San Francisco.
Drawing heavily from her early training in Chinese calligraphy, she uses techniques from brush painting, Italian fresco, and landscapes to touch upon issues of gender, race, and power.