Cui Fei's Solo Exhibition
Vermicular Calligraphy

Cui Fei was born in China and now lives and works in New York. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as the Warehouse Gallery at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY; Princeton University Art Museum in Princeton, NJ; Museum of Arts and Design in New York, NY; Museum of Chinese in America in New York, NY; Queens Museum in Queens, NY; Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT; New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, CT; Jeju Museum of Art in Jeju, Korea; Rietberg Museum Zurich in Switzerland; Museum of East Asian Art in Cologne, Germany, among others.

She is a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Artist’s Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Artist Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park, SIP fellowship from the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, Workspace Grant from The Center for Book Arts, and Excellence in Arts Award from the Bronx Council on the Arts. She was selected for the Art Omi International Artists Residency, Artist-in-Residence Program at Light Work, Emerge Program at Aljira & Creative Capital in Newark, and the AIM program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art in America, and YiShu—Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, among other publications.

Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Princeton University Art Museum, Light Work at Syracuse University, and Stony Brook University.

The Vermicular Calligraphy exhibition showcases artist Cui Fei's series of work, representing a further exploration of the asemic writing found in nature. While collecting plant materials in nature, Cui became intrigued by the markings carved by beetles on tree trunks and how closely some of these patterns resemble Chinese calligraphy.

Through her research, Cui discovered that bark beetles have long been part of the ecosystem, attacking weak or sick trees to make room for new growth. Unfortunately, climate change has turned this natural process into a man-made disaster.

Inspired by the carved shapes from nature, Cui creates "sheaths" of insect-scarred tree trunks using lead and metalworking techniques in her series. The metal is meticulously hammered to reflect the contours and texture of the tree trunks. The patterns, initially collected through ink rubbing and then transferred onto the lead, are chased to provide more definition to the overall calligraphic design. Historically, lead is viewed as a metal of death and transformation.

By juxtaposing the ink rubbings and the metal sculptures, Cui traces "writing" back to its origin—nature, highlighting its importance to human civilization. The lead sheaths of the dead tree trunks represent the devastating loss caused by our overexploitation of nature. These works serve as a poignant reminder that transformative change is urgently needed for a sustainable future.

"My project takes inspiration from the intricate and complex pathways carved by beetles on tree trunks."

- Cui Fei, 2024

To learn more about artist Cui Fei, please visit www.www.cuifei.net.

  • Exhibition
  • May 4 - 26, 2024

  • Opening Reception
  • Saturday, May 4 @ 4 pm - 6 pm
  • Schedule Your Visit

  • Workshop
  • Saturday, May 18, 2024 @ 3 pm - 5 pm
  • Free and open to the public.
  • All materials provided.
  • Please check the event page to learn more about the workshop.

  • Location
  • Garage Art Center
    26-01 Corporal Kennedy Street
    Bayside, NY 11360