top of page

From Elsewhere, Within here:  

Audiovisual Sanctuaries of Rulin Ma

May 5th- June 23rd 2024

Opening:  May 11th, 6 pm  

"Every voyage can be said to involve a re-sitting of boundaries. The traveling self is here both the self that moves physically from one place to another… And, the self that embarks on an undetermined journey prctice, having constantly negotiate between home and abroad, native culture and adopted culture, or more creative speaking between a here, a there, and an elsewhere.” ​

- Trinh T. Minh-ha, ‘Home, Traveling source: Elsewhere, within here’

“Audiovisual Sanctuaries of Rulin Ma"  is an exhibit informed by the artist and the painter Rulin Ma's vibrant, creative space-making practice in the midst of uncertainty.  Rulin’s works are a visual translation of her journey from East Asia to the West Coast of the U.S., where she transports her diasporic experiences and observations into pictorial spaces by abstracting, and rearranging them into new gestures and colors. The works on view are also informed by the music she immersed herself with, as reflected in the vibrant energy and rhythmic quality of her compositions.   The compositions and dialogues between form, layered dimensions, and color in her works create a sense of space; a creative sanctuary of its own.  Her work evokes a sense of space-making and wayfinding in art, even in uncertain and changing circumstances.  ​Frome Elsewhere, Within Here: Audiovisual Sanctuaries of Rulin Ma May 5th- June 23rd, Sunday Kitchen ​ When the artist Rulin Ma relocated from China to the U.S., the world was waging a war with the global pandemic spreading at an unprecedented scale.  While her hometown was under a severe lockdown and her new city on the West Coast of the US was frozen with social anxieties, she found her voice in art as a new means of self-expression. This transition, the relocating experience as a diaspora from Shanghai to the US, has been instrumental in her practice and played a pivotal role in shaping her as an artist and a person, Rulin says.  ​ She embraces contradictions and chaos in her work, and describes being dislocated and re-orienting oneself in a new place as a profoundly challenging, and empowering experience. Such abstract subjectivities, voices, and contradictions can be traced in her work, as well as the shifting boundaries one experiences along with one’s migration journey.  Rulin's experiences have given her an affinity towards the marginalized who also have no voice. Echo no.1 and 2 (2022) is a vibrant abstract series that has been deeply informed by music she was listening to while making the pieces.  As the viewers encounter the series, the sense of vibrancy, and musicality is hard to miss in rhythmic dialogues between the shapes, colors, and composition, creating a delightful and musical sanctuary of her own.  And ‘Less than a Blessing (2023)’, one of her most recent work, takes a more visceral,  explorative take on the “body”.  In this work Rulin explores bodily organs as a hidden agencies and a sensory devices of communication and emotion.  In doing so, the body is materialized with its own sense of autonomy and vulnerability, as a significant part of who we are.  This may reflect her affinity for the social "Other" on the one hand, and her desire to reclaim the challenged autonomy in the midst of rising censorship and freedom of expression, on the other.  It is an exploratory work that embraces autonomy and the unknown, and even unruly parts of ourselves.  While "Echo 1 and 2" as a series reflects the rhythm and choreography in creating a fluid extension of her own space, "Less than a Blessing '' explores her internalized corporeality and autonomy.  They stand independently while mirroring each other in resembling the identity in flux, migrating bodies, which are reflected in the abstracted shapes, colors, and marks that are being reconstructed as multi-layered spaces of be-coming. Audiovisual Sanctuaries is inspired by the artist's desire to create a vibrant, safe space amid uncertainty, which stands as a reminder of the expanding capacity and agency one can find in art, regardless of how fragile circumstances may feel.

bottom of page