Exhibit: Through Friday, June 18
In-Person Reception & Artist Talk: Friday, May 21, 7 – 9 p.m.
Quad City Arts Center, 1715 Second Avenue, Rock Island IL
The multi-faceted experiences of individuals from America and abroad are being reflected in a pair of new exhibitions at the Quad City Arts Center, with the Rock Island venue, through June 18, presenting art on the walls, on the floor, and hanging from the ceiling courtesy of the Peter Xiao paintings in iNundATIONs and Ioan Marcu's mixed-media sculptures in Immigrants.
Born in Beijing, China, Xiao spent his teenage years during Mao's Cultural Revolution, and following a post-high-school period of "re-education" as a farmer, he went to Beijing Normal University to study English. In 1980, Xiao relocated to America and attended Cedar Rapids' Coe College, where he earned his BA in fine arts and English. Upon receiving a subsequent MFA from Philadelphia's Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Xiao worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, taught life drawing part-time, and exhibited in Philadelphia and New York. In 1989, he joined the studio-art faculty at Augustana, where the Bettendorf resident is now a professor of art and Paul A. Anderson Chair in the Arts.
Xiao's mixed body of work iNundATIONs was completed through the year of the pandemic, and comments on global and national realities through art, historical parody, satire, and direct observation. Its creator has been experimenting with painting on unstretched canvas and other surfaces and has moved beyond the rectangular confinement of traditional painting by extending some of his paintings onto the floor. Other paintings by Xiao lay directly on the floor, to be viewed from above.
Marcu, a Davenport resident who attended architectural school in Timisoara, Romania, presents a group of sculptural pieces in his exhibit Immigrants, with some of these works hanging on the wall and others standing freely in the gallery. As an immigrant himself, Marcu feels that he speaks for immigrants through his art, living by the motto "Immigrants may find it a challenge to express themselves in English, but art is a universal language." He uses real shoes in his artwork to symbolize the idea that the people have moved around the world, and Marcu has woven oversize “hats” and figures from wildly colorful fibers to represent the diversity of people who have made the United States their home.
An in-person reception and artist talk with Xiao and Marcu will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on May 21, with masks required in the gallery and snacks and beverages available to enjoy in Arts Alley. Regular Quad City Arts Center gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and works from the exhibitions are also currently viewable through Quad City Arts' Web site. Admission is free, and more information on the inNundATIONs and Immigrants exhibits on display through June 18 is available by calling (309)793-1213 or visiting QuadCityArts.com.