Perception is the kickoff exhibition of the fall semester at the University of Oklahoma’s Lightwell Gallery.

click to enlarge Chinese artists and OU printmaking student arrive as students return to campus
A porcelain bowl created by Xiaomiao Wang.

Four artists from China will exhibit works in porcelain, cut-paper and collage for Perception, the kickoff exhibition of the fall semester at the University of Oklahoma’s Lightwell Gallery.

Perception culminates the work of Xinxin Liu, Jing Zhang, Xiaomiao Wang and Xiaohong Zhang as well as Tracy Shi, an OU graduate student in printmaking who curated and organized the show. Shi, a Chinese artist, knew the four artists through professional connections, and she applied to the Lightwell Gallery committee to have the work exhibited.

Jason Cytacki, an assistant professor and member of the committee, said Perception was scheduled to coincide with the first day of the school year because it would attract incoming students as well as visitors from beyond the OU community interested in an international art experience.

“Exposing students to different cultures and art outside of our own local area is especially important,” Cytacki said. “It’s the job of the university to not only provide the culture for our students but for the community as well.”

Shi is interested in the art of both Eastern and Western culture and finds the comparison helpful to her as an artist.

“Art is the language that everyone could understand through their own perception,” Shi said.

Although the show is comprised of all traditional Chinese elements, gallery visitors will easily recognize how the pieces fit into contemporary life. For example, Jing Zhang created handmade paper, a historical nod to China’s invention of paper in the beginning of the second century.

Other work includes a bamboo utensil used for steaming food crafted by Liu; porcelain bowls made by Wang in Jingdezhen, a city in China known as “The Porcelain Capital”; and intricate, symmetrical designs from Xiaohong’s Chinese paper-cutting work.

The work of three of the artists — Liu, Wang and Xiaohong — is informed from their teaching backgrounds. Liu teaches in Beijing at Tsinghua University, the top school in China, while Wang and Xiaohong have taught in U.S. universities for more than six years.

Liu, Wang and Jing Zhang, along with Shi, will attend the opening of Perception 5-7:30 p.m. on Friday.

Cytacki encourages visitors from outside of the OU community to attend the free opening, which will include printmaking demonstrations by members of the OU Print Club. The sixth annual Tee Party will be held in conjunction with the opening reception. Visitors can bring a blank T-shirt, pillowcase, apron or tote bag to be custom-printed by members of the club.

All proceeds from donations and art purchases of student work will help the Print Club attend the Southern Graphics Council Conference in the spring and to bring visiting artists to OU.

Perception will be on display until Sept. 3 in the Lightwell Gallery, located on the second floor of the School of Art & Art History. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and admission is always free.

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