Born in China, Mimi Chen Ting has lived in the United States since 1965. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the United States and around the world. Her paintings and prints are in numerous public, corporate, and private collections. She divides her time between studios in the Sonoran desert at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in New Mexico, and along the sparkling San Francisco Bay waters under the Golden Gate Bridge in northern California. Ting’s work can currently be seen in New York, California, New Mexico, and Hong Kong.
When I enter the studio, I am like an irrepressible child, eager for play. All that I am and encounter infects my imagination and imbues my motivation. I thrill at making marks and cherish the meanderings each medium proffers.
My initial approach to a canvas is purely experiential and physical. Whether it is seeded in play or protest, I am always questioning. Though impulse and uncertainty drive my process, I am mindful and deliberate in practice. I alternate layering new marks with selectively hiding old ones, mining the incidental intersections, overlaps, and spaces in-between for clues and revelations. While I relish drawing with charcoal, and mixing paints for my palette, it is the chromatic and spatial interactions come to life that excite me. The abstract idiom challenges me to see with my mind what is invisible to my eyes, enables me to shape the intangible, and allows me to invent my own rhythm, to explore the dichotomies of existence amid the many facets of nature: to glean meaning, to discover edges, to cross boundaries, and to stitch together the occasional seam.
Each painting begins with a gestural drawing on an expanse of canvas pinned to the wall. The stick of charcoal becomes an extension of my arm. I paint over the drawing, draw over the paint, and so on, feeling my way until I find resonance. Then I erase or hide all that is unnecessary, using the remaining lines and colors as the bedrock for expansion and elaboration. I like my shapes and colors butted against each other along edges that pull at and push into the adjacent space, struggling to find middle-ground. Clues can often be seen left behind under the surface like traces of memory. Since I almost always work on several works at the same time, I enjoy the luxury of voicing multiple points of view. It is like carrying on full-fledge discussions or arguments with myself. The chorus can be raucous or pensive, and at times downright hilarious. At any rate, they are never boring, and keep me tireless and restless in my studio.
As an artist, I am privileged to travel a path of my choosing. It is a solitary journey that is long and often arduous. Yet it must not be hurried, for every turn promises an adventure, and each passage takes me one step closer toward home.