As artist Fred Liang gestured to a collection of white, clay sculptures of Buddha heads scattered across the floor, visitors shuffled around the Artist Studio in Abbot Hall, chatting about the work displayed in the room.
The open studio of Liang’s work was held last Sunday and gave the Andover community a chance to meet Liang and observe his works in process. Liang is the Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence at the Addison Gallery of American Art this term and will be featured in the upcoming exhibit “Convergence,” which will open on January 27.
“It’s nice to have people come into the studio and see the work in the natural state instead of museum or gallery space where everything has been cleaned up. You see the struggle, the flaws, the unfinished work, and unsuccessful work. You get to see the progression of the thinking process, which you don’t see anywhere else,” said Liang.
Many students who attended the event also expressed appreciation for the opportunity to see the process of artwork being made.
“Whenever I look at art, I only see what it looks like when it’s finished. It’s really refreshing to be able to see the process in which the art is created… Also, I think all the sculptures are really unique in the way they are placed and made,” said Ethan Chan ’21.
A variety of artwork was displayed at the open studio, including sliced Buddha heads, collages, and smoke drawings. Together, the pieces were unified by the themes of transformation, transition, and exchange.
“[Liang] has a deep philosophical interest. He pursues his work in many mediums and whatever takes him on the path. So he’s worked in painting, intricate cut outs, and moved on to sculptures. He’s quite daring in the media that he uses but still [maintains] a very strong sense of his voice,” said Natasha Bregel, one of Liang’s graduate school classmates.
When Liang first began creating art, he was heavily influenced by Chinese ink paintings of bamboo and horses. As he grew as an artist, his inspirations evolved, and Liang now also draws ideas for his art from his own experience.
“What really inspires me now, as someone who has been doing art for a while, is to understand how things are and why things are the way they are and how to use art to make those connections between different ideas,” said Liang.
Looking forward, Liang is excited to continue his work as Artist-in-Residence this term.
“It was very easy to accept [the offer of being an Artist-in-Residence] because it’s such an amazing program. As an artist you want to be part of a history, and this is an opportunity to be part of [Andover’s] history. ‘Decision’ isn’t necessarily the right word [to describe my choice] because it’s more of embracing a chance to make an impact,” said Liang.