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VIVIAN TSAO--Available Paintings.  BIDDINGTON'S CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERY--More Still Life/Interior Paintings

Vivian Tsao oil painting Summer
Artists' Studio Visits at Biddington's Art Gallery

Artist Who Meditates on Light

Vivian Tsao in her Brooklyn studio.

Current Exhibition:
Vivian Tsao, National Museum of History
October 2-November 8, 2009
49 Nan Hai Road
Taipei, Taiwan

Vivian TSAO Summer
Oil Painting on Linen

In reviewing one of Vivian Tsao's prior CERES shows, Michael Brenson of THE NEW YORK TIMES wrote:

"The spareness of this (Tsao's) work has to do with bare rooms, but it also has to do with the light, which is often Middle Eastern in its glare. The light does not so much illuminate as threaten to devour. It invades the rooms.

Ms. Tsao has an honesty and taut eccentricity that suggest a genuine vision. Between the Middle Eastern light, and the discretion that is characteristic of Chinese art--and between the experience of danger and willingness to keep looking into the light--there is a potential for a moving and instructive statement."

Vivian Tsao: Although I have never seen my grandparents who remained in China after the 1949 revolution, I remember clearly some of the Chinese calligraphy from our "old home". These pieces of Chinese painting and calligraphy brought by my father to Taiwan have always been part of my life. My father views this art form as a means to cultivation. He has practiced it himself for much of his life, and he began teaching it to me when I was six.

Vivian Tsao kitchen painting November 29

Vivian TSAO November 29
Oil Painting

Vivian Tsao: As a young painter, I pursued the art that was calligraphic. At the same time, I learned the techniques and the histories of Western and Chinese art.

Vivian Tsao: Light is a subject mentioned very little in traditional Chinese painting. It was the study of light and color that enticed me away from theoretical discussions on the direction of contemporary Chinese art and turned me toward the media of oil paints and pastels.

Vivian Tsao

Vivian Tsao: When I moved to Saudi Arabia, a land free from all artistic theories, I developed a profound relationship with light.

Vivian Tsao: In Jeddah, I spent hours each day gazing into the distant scene from my window or at the scene of an interior of several doors letting in light from different sources--some cool, some warm. This experience gradually led me to read light as if it had moods, as if it were sculptures of time.

Vivian Tsao at her Studio Windows in New York City

Vivian Tsao painting

Vivian TSAO Doorway at Dusk
Oil Painting

Vivian Tsao: In this atmosphere of light, I construct space.

Vivian Tsao oil painting Brown Hallway

Vivian TSAO Hallway with Brown Doors
Oil Painting

Vivian Tsao: My art is not at all conceptual; it is entirely visual. I respond to a scene that moves me. Using middle-tone colors or colors that are almost white, I jot down the momentary response to what is in front of me. I look for the maximum variation of tonal changes in a minimum range of contrasts.

Vivian Tsao at her easel

Vivian Tsao: I am very concerned about the character of light. If I don't finish a painting and the light changes--as from autumn to winter--I put the painting away and work on it the next year when the light is right again.

Vivian Tsao at Work in Her Studio


Vivian TSAO Cityscape with Arabian Pitcher
Oil Painting

Vivian Tsao: While not severely realistic, my paintings do include a great deal of detail: From this apartment my studio allowed me to see figures clearly. I noticed an old man passing on the right side--he passed by like a dream image, so I put him in the painting.

Vivian Tsao oil painting Palm

Vivian Tsao: At one point, we moved to an apartment with no view and little architectural interest. But I asked myself: "If I need a view, what kind of painter am I?" In Palm and Windchime with Red Bow, I challenged myself to create a landscape on a blank wall. This painting has many, many tonal variations and much brushwork.

Vivian TSAO Palm and Windchime with Red Bow
Oil Painting

Vivian Tsao oil painting on canvas Pine and Maple

Vivian TSAO "Pine and Maple"
Oil Painting on Linen

Vivian Tsao: Pine and Maple is a sort of double portrait. I noticed the maple was filling up one entire window frame--it had a very strong physical presence. A big visual concern for me is to find a dialogue between hard and soft objects and to weight them properly--to make them of the same world.

Vivian Tsao: When you paint, you break things down into spots of color. Normal things become basic elements; the artist has to make sense of them.

Detail from Vivian TSAO painting The Armoire (right)

Vivian Tsao: As I moved into my white period, I became more and more myself. My work is temperamental rather than scientific--according to my mood I decide what to paint, or not. I have found a special corner for myself in these low contrast, narrow tonal-range paintings.

Vivian TSAO Clay Mug and Dictionaries
Oil Painting

Artist Vivian Tsao with her self portrait

Vivian Tsao with Self-Portrait

Vivian Tsao left her native Taiwan for graduate studies in painting at Carnegie Mellon University. Now a resident of New York City, she has lived in the Middle East and in Europe. Tsao has exhibited her works in major venues such as the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Brooklyn Museum and Taipei Fine Arts Museum. In 1985, Tsao was a recipient of the prestigious New York State Council on the Arts "Artist-in-Residence" Award.

In addition to painting, Tsao has written about art in Chinese language essays and interviews with Western art figures such as Philip Pearlstein and critic Hilton Kramer published for the major Taiwanese paper China Times and for Hsiung Shih an international art magazine published in Taipei. An art interviews and essays book "The Mark of Time: Dialogues with Vivian Tsao on Art in New York" was published by Hsiung Shih Art Books in February 2003. Vivian Tsao works in her studio and also serves as adjunct professor of drawing and design at Pace University in New York City. Tsao exhibits her work regularly at Ceres Gallery.

Recent exhibitions include:
2006 "100% Centennial Exhibition" Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
2005 "The Mark of Time" (Solo Exhibition), Ceres Gallery (NYC)
2004 "Invitational Exhibition of Painting & Sculpture", American Academy of Arts & Letters (NYC)
2003 "The Pastel Society of America Invitational Exhibition", The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH
2003 "Private Views: Places, Faces and Figures", Curator Series, Pastel Society of America, National Arts Club (NYC)
2003 "Light in the Season" (Solo Exhibition), Ceres Gallery (NYC)
2002 "Subtext: Realismplus", Inaugural Curator Series, Pastel Society of America, National Arts Club (NYC)
2002 "20/02", The Rotunda Gallery, BRIC/Brooklyn Information & Culture, Brooklyn, NY

View Vivian Tsao's paintings currently offered for sale in
BIDDINGTON'S Contemporary Art Gallery.
Price Range: $2800-$5000


CREATIVE PROCESS at Biddington's is designed as a forum for watching art in the making. Usually, this process happens in the privacy of the artist's studio. At BIDDINGTON'S Contemporary Art Gallery & upmarket, online art & antiques auction--we find it interesting to witness the steps leading to the end product and to hear the artists speak about their work in the relaxed surroundings of their own studios.

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