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Glass Artist Nancy Gong Traces A War Bride's Historical Life

What started as an invitation to participate in Art Reflected 1913-2013, a centennial exhibition opening February 9th at the Memorial Art Gallery, has turned into an opportunity to focus on a personal historical immigration journey for award winning Rochester glass artist Nancy Gong. Forty regional artists were asked to create new art inspired art in the gallery's Permanent Collection. It's part of a fundraiser for the gallery's Centennial Celebration. Gong, a first generation American born Chinese, chose the contemporary work of Juane Quick-To-See Smith's Famous Names, a collage painting that tells the story of hardships and discrimination towards Native American Women.

In Gong's art glass creation, War Bride, the artist traces the history of the 1880 Chinese Exclusion Act, its quotas and its repeals up through a recent apology in 2011 from the U.S. Congress for the discriminatory immigration law aimed at a specific ethnic and working group. The glass design travels though one hundred thirty one years of the immigrations act's effect on Asian women and the growth of Asian families in the US.

Nancy Gong's War Bride is inspired by her mother's life journey. It is an interactive design that comes alive when layers of etched and painted mouth blown and dichroic glass catch the light as the viewer moves around the artwork. The design celebrates the strength, courage, forward thinking and experiences of a modern woman from 1925 through the 80's by tracing a War Bride's life.

Nancy Gong, an architectural glass artist is among the first wave of trained American glass artists to embrace a new to the US laminating process originating in Germany. Known for combining the old with the new for a fresh modern approach, the artist takes the lead in developing a dimensionally intriguing vocabulary in art glass weaving six layered surfaces of painted and etched photographic images and textures into one mysterious work of art glass suitable for interior or exterior applications.


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