Two new exhibits open at Santa Clara’s de Saisset Museum
October 6, 2016
Twisting sculptures and vibrant illustrations of Chinese immigrant life, although seemingly unrelated, have both found a home at Santa Clara University’s de Saisset museum.
The first of these two new exhibits, the “Coriolis and Torqueri” series, was created by acclaimed abstract expressionist sculptor Bruce Beasley, whose works can be found across the globe from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to the Islamic Museum in Cairo.
The artist, who has been involved in the world of sculpture for five decades, created a name for himself with his use of new materials and processes, as well as his examination of forces of motion.
“Coriolis,” Beasley’s first series, is a collection of smaller sculptures which are ambitious in their range of motion. Named after a physics force term, these twisting pieces are formed from a polymer known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene—the fancy name for the material used for Legos.
The end result is a series of mind-puzzling, contorted, white sculptures. And while these pieces are polished, viewers cannot help but be reminded of squeezed toothpaste or a string of spaghetti.
In the “Torqueri” series, Beasley moves onto bigger and shinier objects. These sculptures, covered by a bronze casting, are all the more impressive than the “Coriolis” series, with their glossy, wriggling exteriors. Slightly imposing in their size and motion, these sculptures leave viewers in awe.
This is not the first time Beasley has been showcased here at Santa Clara. In fact, as museum director Rebecca Schapp explained, the de Saisset has a special connection with the artist.
“The de Saisset Museum has had a longstanding relationship with Bruce Beasley, through four group exhibitions which have dated back to 1982, and through his work being represented within our permanent collection,” the museum director said.
As Schapp said, Beasley’s unique creative process was one of the main reasons Santa Clara looked to highlight the sculptor once again.
“We offered Beasley a one-person exhibition to highlight his recent work, which is being shown in an American museum for the first time, but which is also being realized through an innovative technological process; computer-aided design and 3-D printing,” Schapp said. “Through this technology he is able to make sculptural forms and shapes which have been difficult or impossible to make through the traditional methods of carving or casting.”
The second new exhibit, “Crossing Cultures: Belle Yang, A Story of Immigration,” tells the story of Belle Yang’s life as a young immigrant from Taiwan through brightlycolored graphic paintings.
“Tadpoles,” a brightly colored painting of a little girl reaching for tadpoles in a pond, originates from Yang’s experience catching these creatures while still living in Taiwan.
“Good-Bye Taiwan” shows the Yang family on the road to an uncertain future in America, with their colorful city in the background and the family on the road in a small wagon.
“Hannah Is My Name” illustrates the Yang family at a vibrantly colored Asian Market in San Francisco with a dull city in the background, always moving, with their young child in the lead.
However, Yang’s pieces are not all bold in their colors. In the graphic story “Forget Sorrow,” Yang employs only black and white drawings to depict the struggles she faced while hiding from an ex-boyfriend-turned-stalker, as well as her experiences with the devastating Tiananmen riots on June 4, 1989.
Schapp said the exhibit caught the museum’s attention because of its incredibly relevant themes
“This traveling exhibition addresses social issues found within our contemporary society. It is a story about immigration and adapting to a new way of life and culture,” Schapp said. “Immigration is currently being discussed on the national stage within this election year and the de Saisset Museum can contribute to this conversation through artistic presentation, insight and reflection.”
Thus, both Beasley and Yang’s different forms of artistic expression exemplify the modern world. Society is always moving forward, as are Beasley’s efforts in sculpture and Yang’s work reminds us of the hard struggles of immigrants—people often deemed unworthy of praise, let alone basic recognition.
Both exhibits will be on display at the de Saisset until Dec. 4.
Contact Madeline White at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.