29.7 — 19.8 22
29.7 — 19.8 22
In Figure, Character, Sign, ritualized artistic return to a subject is
an important form of cultural inquiry and a source for creative work.
By circling back to the past—and to language, identity, archetypal
images, earthly elements, and card games—the artists in this exhibition develop new forms of expression, share research, and raise questions about the individual relative to the collective. Patterns of stones, water, stars, and leaves evoke nature, spiritual ritual, the context of Venice, and connections between the human and non-human—a theme of the 2022 Venice Biennale. Radical Return, a group project of work by Chinese and Chinese American artists and designers curated by Mary Y. Yang and Zhongkai Li, is centered around visual meditations on the Chinese character 回 hui, which means to return, to turn around, to circle, or to reply. The Radical Return exhibition catalog and the work of the 36 participants raise the question “Why does one return to something, someone, or somewhere?”Radical Return collectively explores meeting points of personal vision with cultural and national points of origin. The role of coming back to something, someone, or somewhere to forge new ways of making and being is explored by Maria Molteni and Adrienne Elise Tarver in their layered work and research. Via the ritual of the Italian card game Scopa, Maria Molteni’s installation Counting to Infinity /Sweeping Stars (Contando All’infinito / Stelle Scopa) visually interweaves daily play, prayer, and upkeep of the ground underfoot with the sweep of comets above. Adrienne Elise Tarver’s ongoing Mirage Series returns to histories of figuration to raise questions about leisure, visibility, and privilege. Tarver explores the complexity of Black female identity, both archetypal and individual, questioning tropes of the past toward reframing the future.
Dana Clancy, Director, Associate Professor of Art
Mary Y. Yang, Assistant Professor of Art
Boston University College of Fine Arts
School of Visual Arts