Date(s) - 10/19/2023
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Brett Llewellyn Art Gallery
Brett Llewellyn Art Gallery
312 Engineering Technology Building
Alfred State College
10 Upper College Dr., Alfred, NY 14802
Reception, Talk & Workshop
3PM, Friday, December 1
9:00am-5:00pm, Monday – Friday
*Extra Hours for Alfred Art Walk on Thurs. October 19, 5pm – 8pm
Thurs. Nov. 16, 5pm – 8pm
My Chinoiserie is an exhibition of concept art and animation assets for a short film in progress by artist and filmmaker, Amy Lee Ketchum. In it she visualizes the contrast between the fascination with Asian culture on the one hand and the xenophobia towards Asian immigrants on the other. By utilizing the language of Chinoiserie (a decorative art style, French for “in the style of the Chinese”), Lee Ketchum explores her hybrid identity as an Asian American. The works include experiments in Chinese ink painting, painting on ceramics, embroidery and stop-animation.
In the summer of 2019, Philadelphia was suddenly swarming with a new sight, the spotted lanternfly. Stomping campaigns quickly put citizens to work to kill them on sight. At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, anti-Asian violence rose alarmingly. The campaigns against lanternflies, which originated from China, became symbolic of the xenophobia directed towards immigrants. These creatures were so successful in their new country that they were reviled.
As I saw people raging against the lanternflies, I started to wonder, am I a lanternfly? Who is invasive and who is welcome? The mercurial political environment of the post World War 2 era forced my family out of China. My father was uprooted from home, became an American, and eventually raised his own family in this country that has both embraced and hazed its newcomers. Like the lanternfly, my home is a country that is not my ancestors’. Unlike the lanternfly, I am aware of hostility, both subtle and not from strangers who eye immigrants and their American children with both curiosity and revulsion.
These thoughts seeded the concept for an experimental short film. The works in this exhibition include animation assets which tell the story of historical events dating back to the 18th Century that led to the lanternfly’s predicament in the United States. The reference to chinoiserie (a decorative design style, which in French translates to “in the style of the Chinese”) points to the contradiction between the craze for Chinese goods on one hand and exclusionary policies enacted towards Chinese people on the other.
In the process of making this work, further questions arise, such as: if chinoiserie means “in the style of the Chinese”, what does it mean for an American born Chinese person to make this work? These ideas drive the form of this evolving project.
Amy Lee Ketchum creates poetic narratives and abstract worlds in her animations which draw from personal and collective memory, metaphysical narratives, and dance. She holds a BA in Art and Architecture from UC Berkeley and a Masters of Fine Art in Animation at the University of Southern California. Her work has been shown on broadcast independent television, various international film festivals, and on the Centre Pompidou web channel. Currently she is working on a series of drawings and animations involving chinoiserie and lanternflies.
Amy is originally from Los Angeles and currently resides in Philadelphia. She teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where she is the Chair of Animation. She is also a member of the artist collective Tiger Strikes Asteroid and a founding member of a Philadelphia experimental animation group, the Animation Ensemble.