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A Picnic State of Mind

Curated by Xingze Li & Yen Yen



Ella Barnes, Edward Cabral, Karen Y. Chan, Xingjian Ding, Baoying Huang, Christina Yuna Ko, Ingrid Yi-Chen Lu, Kate Liebman, Dan Mandelbaum, Ru Marshall, Kevin O'Hara, Masamitsu Shigeta, Tsai-Ling Tseng, and Lilian Wu


August 19 - October 15, 2023

Opening Reception: Saturday, August 19, 4 - 10 PM

For visits and inquiries contact


Xingze Li


Tutu Gallery announces group exhibition A Picnic State of Mind, curated by Xingze Li and Yen Yen featuring works by 14 artists with surface treatments that transform physicality between the second and third dimensions. As the in-real-life evolution of Tutu Gallery’s 2020 online show, Backyard Dream Keeps Me Awake, this exhibition tracks the curators’ continuous collaborations as well as newly formed friendships, and their shift from the immediate need of supporting underrepresented Asian artists to expansion in movement visually, socially, and philosophically. 


Elements of culture depart from their original sentiments upon reinterpretation, becoming a channel for introspection and storytelling. Grounded within painting and installation, Christina Yuna Ko’s colorfully shaped MDF and fiberboards explore the way cuteness as an aesthetic category proliferates in the daily life of the diaspora; Using symbols from Judaism, Christianity, art history and scientific diagrams, Kate Liebman’s multilayer depicts the danger of flight in her family narrative and how grief transforms the experience of time’s passage; Edward Cabral’s amber-like, semi ephemerals focus on the modern foodways of America through the context of history and his personal practice as a baker, with shaped bread and burnt pastry.


Sometimes, the familiarity of everyday evokes profound impressions. Baoying Huang’s painted apartment interiors are charged with intense psychic moments; Tsai-Ling Tseng’s portraits are completed through repeated attempts of correcting mistakes, as if these acts are rescuing loved ones from distant memory. Sometimes, these impressions are soothed with artmaking. Ingrid Yi-Chen Lu builds miniature personal worlds by weaving together paintings, drawings, ceramics, and textiles; Masamitsu Shigeta puts a glimpse of hopeful street scene on a pillow, while Xingjian Ding reshapes intimacy by carefully dissecting and putting back together pastel-colored shadows. 

Through the observation of subtle life, or simply, watching, the personal objective dissipates. In the works of Lilian Wu, Ella Barnes, Karen Y. Chan, Dan Mandelbaum, Ru Marshall, and Kevin O’Hara, multitudes of materials create medium-defying compositions, inviting curiosity about the fabric of reality: are these imageries carried by the matter which perhaps contains colors? Or are they reflected by light traveling in the air? What happens between the eye and the mind, where perspectives occur? Do perspectives form following word to word, left to right when there is an allowance to go backward, or to jump around, or to still in the very small gap between letters… 


where infinity is gently extended, not through an unlimited quantity but with an offering of the nature of seeing, that can be divided or multiplied without capture.


Xingze Li & Yen Yen

Edited by April Z

















Xingze Li (b. 1992, Yan’an, China) is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Brooklyn. He has exhibited and curated in China, America, and Denmark. Solo and two-person exhibitions have been exhibited at places such as Sweet Lorraine Gallery, Tutu Gallery, and Hunter East Harlem Gallery. He had participated in group exhibitions at the Cathouse Proper and Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York City, Little Berlin in Philadelphia, and Carlsberg Byens Galleri & Kunstsalon in Copenhagen. Li earned his bachelor's degree in 2015 from Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts and received his MFA in Painting and Drawing from Pratt Institute in 2019.

Yen Yen is an artist based in Taipei, Taiwan and Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Pratt Institute with an M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing in 2018. She has participated in a number of group exhibitions at spaces including Dinner Gallery, New York, NY, Fridman Gallery, New York, NY; Tchotchke Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Brooklyn, NY; Chinatown Soup, New York, NY; Gallery Cubed, New York, NY; Prince Street Gallery, New York; and SPRING/BREAK Art Show NYC. Yen Yen has curated booths in the 2020 and 2022 installments of SPRING/BREAK Art Show NYC.

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