Mixed-media artist, May Yao, explores the combination of Asian and western cultural artifacts in her mixed media sculptures and installations. Yao deals with issues of discrimination, racism, and gender bias by deflecting the original meanings of cultural artifacts through rarefaction and fetishism. As an immigrant to the United States, Yao states that her work is “a reflection of my ability to centrifuge fragmented information from different cultures, formulating a patchwork that is neither east nor west.” The subject matter of her work is drawn primarily from being Chinese-American: “The clash of identities fuels the dichotomies in my work: I am constantly balancing vanity and muteness, offsetting the obvious and the understated, implementing invitation and rejection, thus creating an uncertainty that demands a second glance.”
Yao is a graduate of University of California - Davis, and holds her M.F.A. in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is a part of RISD’s institutional collection, and she has exhibited at the Sarah Doyle Gallery, Woods Gerry Gallery, and the Newport Art Museum, as well as many other galleries and museums in Rhode Island, New York and California.
James Reynolds presents metaphorical images on multi-paneled, tinplated steel tableaus to explore the mysteries of what he refers to as ‘simultaneous existence,’ drawing inspiration from the human condition in the twenty-first century. By producing artwork that attempts to explain the world in which he lives, Reynolds is able to understand more about the troubled landscape that surrounds him. “By juxtaposing objects that are unimaginably distant and concurrently existing, I can present the dichotomy contained within every instance…Escape is impossible so relief comes through the act of producing artworks that attempt to understand the how and the why of a shifting and troubled landscape.”
Reynolds is an artist and designer who is well known for public installations such as the ones at The Wheeler School Farm and the Loeb Memorial Boathouse in Central Park. His work is featured in private residences around the world, and is a part of the permanent collection of the RISD Museum in Providence. Reynolds holds is Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Steven Easton fuses complex architectural casts with figurative portraiture to merge two very different elements in his work in kiln cast glass. Easton’s work explores the key themes of “the concept of treasure, the inward turning nature of psychoanalytic thought, and portraits as symbols that are immediate and person, yet ancient.” He is also deeply intrigued by the mystery of prior civilizations, world cultures, and classical antiquity. Easton’s work is based in the belief that “creativity is at the center of everything positive. Through this understanding, I feel that everything is interconnected and everything matters.”
Easton attended the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1987, he received the New York Experimental Glass Workshop Fellowship as well as the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Grant. More recently, in 2007, he was the recipient of a Fellowship Grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. His work is featured in the collections of the RISD Museum of Art, Corning Museum of Glass, Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Switzerland and the Alexander Tutsek Foundation in Munich, Germany.