"I got the cliched shivers when I saw my paintings and my father's work, leaning against the wall where John Steinbeck's huge black and white image looked down upon them."--Belle Yang
I'm humming "Tonight, tonight, won't be just any night . . . "-- okay not really. My big opening at the National Steinbeck Center, as described below, is indeed tonight. But I have a disease known as satellite delay: all good news, and even the bad, does not sink in until 3 days later. This has its good side and bad. The good is that I am slow to anger and do not get into fights easily. The chance for a retort to someone's rudeness is long past when I feel the rage, but but then bad is also the same: the chance to serve up the same bitter dish to the offender has also passed. (Yes, I know, revenge is best served cold! I spent 14 years writing/painting my graphic novel "Forget Sorrow" to take revenge for my great grandfather against Communism, war and forgetting, so I know all about cold.)
And so in the chaos of this morning, I am preparing a boxful of material for my father, who will join me at the Steinbeck Center to do a demo of his Chinese calligraphy. I am trying to text my beau, trying to organize my father's materials for painting, trying to ready him for the drive over to the Steinbeck, trying to type out this blog in Redroom, fighting to finish the sketch for my next set of Chinese readers for the very young, trying to pay my bills, attempting to pick up a copy of this morning's paper, trying to sign my new book contract and mail it out fast to get the money into my bank account, and anticipating a nice hot shower so I will be as ruddy as a baby when receiving patrons. Whew.
Okay, this show is the culmination of nearly 30 years of work, including ones I had painted, not for commercial purposes like books and gallery pieces, but all for the learning, the excitement of being in Beijing of my ancestors and learning techniques millennia-old.
The show has been extended through the first week of November. If you are near Salinas, drop into the National Steinbeck Center. The address is 1 Main Street. Hard to forget that one!
Belle Yang, Joseph Yang exhibit at National Steinbeck Center
By MARCOS CABRERA reporter at the Monterey Peninsula Herald Aug. 3, 2012
Exhibiting at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas isn't just a chance for Belle Yang to showcase her visual art.
It's a rare opportunity for the Carmel-based artist to display both her literary and visual talents. The setting equally embraces the spirit of both sides of her work.
"I feel really honored to be exhibiting at the Steinbeck Center because I'm a writer," said Yang, whose most recent work is the graphic novel "Forget Sorrow." "Most of the places I've exhibited or presented, the closest thing to literary are the libraries. Most of the time it's just the art that's exhibited. But this time I feel it's the art and the literary aspect that's involved."
Yang's exhibit opens with a reception at 5 p.m. Friday at the National Steinbeck Center. The exhibit runs through November.
Yang's work will be displayed alongside that of her father, Joseph Yang. His painting is traditional Chinese brush stroke work and calligraphy. The pair have shared a space before, but nothing as big as this.
"They're placing mine against his, as comparison to see our visual language. How they compare and how I've absorbed his brush work, the Chinese calligraphy type of brush work," Belle Yang said, "and generally how he's influenced me, and in reverse, how my work, coming back from China, influenced him."
Belle Yang spent some time in China during the 1980s, studying traditional and folk art styles. Work from that era will be on public display for the first time at
In her exhibit statement, curator Deborah Silguero said Belle Yang's work isn't all about her books.
"As an art exhibition curator, when I opened and read Belle Yang's books, I walked into a museum gallery each time," Silguero said. "On every page, I examined the art and studied her written words like labels on a gallery wall. And while immersed, there have been many times when I turn a page and look up as if to see her work in front of me."
Silguero worked on the exhibit with guest curator Lila Staples, CSU Monterey Bay visual and public art professor. CSUMB visual public art professor Angelica Muro and students in her digital art course helped conceive and design the exhibits viewer-participation gallery. Their work is based on Belle Yang's artistic books and characters.
One installation features a koi pond with projections of fish moving around.
A winged image of Yang hangs from the ceiling, taken from one of her own visuals. The wings flap and move.
A children's reading interactive area includes a metal installation with magnetized models of Yang's animal characters.
Belle Yang had a look at the installation recently. She said she was taken with all of the hard work from Silguero and the CSUMB faculty and staff.
She's also pleased to be working with her father, under the watchful eye of Steinbeck.
"When I took my dad's art to be hung, they were set against the wall with Steinbeck's pictures of various ages living in Salinas, looking down," she said. "I had this chill, a feeling of excitement. Like Steinbeck is looking down on this."
If you go
· The Belle Yang exhibition opens at 5 p.m. Friday at the National Steinbeck Center, 1 Main St., Salinas. Learn more at www.steinbeck.org.
Causes Belle Yang Supports
826 Valencia Street