Beth Lo - Art
My personal artistic research has revolved around my Asian American heritage with particular focus on issues of family and cultural marginality. Since the birth of my son in 1987, I also created works in what I call the “Good Children Series,” and published two children’s books in collaboration with my sister Ginnie Lo. I enjoy using images of children to represent concepts of innocence and vulnerability as well as potential.
When I learned that I was invited to participate in the “Main Exhibition” of the 7th Gyeonggi International Ceramics Biennale 2013, I felt honored, humbled and a bit nervous about the challenge. This exhibition commissions new work from some of the best artists working in ceramics from around the world, artists using the latest technologies and representing the most current concepts and approaches.
I wanted to challenge myself to create a major piece that achieved three goals. My first goal was for my work to fit the Biennale’s theme of community. Second, I hoped to explore a new development in my aesthetic thinking. For the past 25 years most of my artwork has been based on ideas of family and cultural identity. Now that my son is fully grown, the focus on my personal story has evolved into wider thoughts of the legacies of generations as well as end of life issues. In recent work, I experimented with the image of water, (swimming in water, in particular) as a metaphor for life’s passages. I wanted to try these ideas in my new work for Korea. My third goal was to try my hand at an artwork that represented the recent trend in contemporary ceramics to incorporate mixed media and aspects of installation. In my new piece “Breath,” I hope I have come close to achieving these goals in a resonant and affecting work of art.
Traveling to Korea for the Biennale and then to Shanghai will offer me opportunities to see incredible ceramics both historical and contemporary. The Biennale is also hosting a three day tour to ancient and contemporary ceramic sites around the island. In Shanghai, I will meet with relatives and travel to the iron worker city of Wu Zhen, my “old family home” where my ancestors were famous wok-makers. Experiencing both of these Asian destinations should greatly benefit my artistic research.
About Beth Lo
I was born in Lafayette, Indiana to parents who had recently emigrated from China. I studied Art and other subjects at the University of Michigan and received a Bachelors of General Studies in 1971. I received my MFA in Ceramics at the University of Montana under Rudy Autio in 1974. I was hired in 1985 as an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Montana after spending 10 years in the Bitterroot Valley as a studio artist and part-time musician with the band The Big Sky Mudflaps. At the university I discovered a love for teaching and have had the pleasure to work with numerous talented graduate and undergraduate students in Ceramics, Sculpture, and Drawing.