Ma Chih Ching
Ma Chih Ching was born and raised in Taiwan. Ma moved to the United States at the age of sixteen and received a high school diploma from Catherine McAuley High School in Portland, Maine. Ma is an interdisciplinary artist who works with various media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, papermaking and animation. Ma is currently based in Boston and Taipei.
I consider most of my work to be abstract portraits. Some are portraits of friends while some are portraits of systems in this world; they all are documentations of my surroundings. I work in two different modes: intimate and aloof. I have very different attitudes toward friends and the networks and systems that surround us; when depicting friends, the sentiment is sweet and genuine, and when depicting the larger systems, my approach becomes critical and aloof.
It is important to me that my work is both playful and serious. Using miniatures with mixed atmospheres signifies my tendency towards dichotomy. I often use found materials, such as dollhouses or lock boxes, as diorama environments to contain narratives and provide physical space as well as context. These environments are usually absurd, creepy, and over-the-top, but at the same time a humorous tone pervades. By displaying strange moments, my dioramas often examine hierarchy and how power operates in society because the juxtaposition among the miniature pieces demonstrates confrontations with the establishment.
I also use people and their actions as my medium. The participation of my friends is crucial to my practice because I am seduced by intimacy and fascinated by the tension that intimacy creates. I set up game-like scenarios, which encourage competition and intensity; the tension of the games creates experiences of opposition for the audience. Sometimes the games present themselves as visual puzzles, and in that case, the intense experience of viewing translates into a game between me and the audience.