Huang Dishi72” x 48”
My interest in Asian history and culture began the day I came face to face with 15 of the actual statues that stood guard over the tomb of China’s first emperor, Quin Shi Huang in an exhibit of the Terracotta Warriors at the Museum of Natural Science in Houston, Texas in 2009. Recent excavations have uncovered terra cotta waterfowl, musicians, troupes of acrobats, horses, and chariots. With this body of work I attempt to construct a new visual language that combines elements of traditional Chinese art with contemporary techniques, modernizing the past.
Remnants of paint tell us that the warriors and horses were dressed colorfully and fully armed. No two of these 1900 six-foot figures unearthed so far have the same features or expression. I reimagine what the terracotta warriors would look like if constructed today. I want to show my audience that this army was the product of great artists of that time period. I use color, and sometimes-whimsical imagery to show that these artists were individuals who painstakingly encrypted their unique signatures on each work. Glitter and gold leaf reinforce the majesty of the once beautiful sculptures.
These artisans were real people with personalities and intellects that are apparent in their artistry if examined closely. In a way, I am striving to find these artisans a voice and give them their souls back.