Shanghai Trilogy: Artifacts, Loads, Situations
Artist's book (signed), limited edition 6 of 25, 3 volumes in traditional Chinese binding
5 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 1/1/4
Donated by the artist
Christina Shmigel received a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1980, an MFA in Sculpture from Brooklyn College, and an MFA in Blacksmithing/Metals from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale. She had a studio practice in Shanghai, China until the spring of 2017, and maintains one in Bakersville, North Carolina, where she has long been associated with the Penland School of Crafts, as a former Resident Artist, board member, and frequent instructor. Shmigel has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, and the Duolun Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai.
It is the central irony of Shmigel's life that she, the child of Ukrainian immigrants, who learned English as a second language in the New York public school system, finds herself an immigrant in China, albeit one called an "expatriate." As a first-generation American, growing up between cultures and languages, she became an observer of cultural cues. It is this habit of being that informs her artistic practice; as she moves from place to place, she engages in collecting and interpreting the elements of the locality's material culture that reveal its particular character. Early on, it occurred to Shmigel that life could be made meaningful only through an imaginative engagement with the quotidian; in response, her work repurposes the vernacular of the "real world" to give form to her internal experience. She seeks to capture those moments when ordinary reality opens up, revealing something intangible beneath its surface. Through her objects and installations, she strives to create a space of playfulness and engagement for the viewer, stimulating curiosity and wonder.