Mao and Chris met while completing their Masters of Fine Arts Degrees at the University of Calgary in 2017. The artists and life partners began collaborating in their home studio in Calgary in 2020, shortly thereafter creating the collaborative studio Mao Projects. Combining different cultural backgrounds, Mao being born and raised in China and Chris having grown up on the west coast of Canada, the artists look to create works that reflect upon their individual and shared perspectives. They have attended residencies together in Canada and have exhibited collaborative works within Canada, the US and Asia.
Mao Projects are 2023 TRANSITWORKS artists.
“Found in Translation”
Drawing inspiration from art + craft histories and our own cultural backgrounds we present a mural that examines cross cultural communication through narrative forms. Referencing classical ceramic forms, ornamental and pop cultural symbols, and combined with abstract painterly mark making, the mural provides a pluralistic vision indicative of our individual and shared experiences. Our collaborative approach aims to find both the connections and points of friction between the variety of references from different cultures and periods. We utilize fragments from cartoons, abstract painting, still life painting and traditional ceramics that interest us for their ability to convey visual information and present potential narrative meaning through themes of time, greed, sharing and growth. The abstract colour palate and graphic drawings are arranged in fragmented compositions across the walls, allowing the narrative to flow from one image to the next in an open ended and nonlinear format. The blending together of these references, we feel, re-contextualizes the fragments we draw upon from the past, adding depth to the narratives while resisting a singular didactic interpretation.