Arts at the Lewis center PA
Princeton Arts Bannerlightbox

Places 2 | Do
Things 2 | Be
A senior thesis exhibition by Julia Meng

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts at Princeton University will present an exhibition of figurative oil paintings and sculptural assemblages that explore the idea of legitimacy in terms of cultural inheritance and the anxieties of one without a concrete identity. Entitled “Places 2 | Do, Things 2 | Be” the exhibition will be on view April 28 through May 2 in the Lucas Gallery at 185 Nassau Street. A reception where visitors can meet the artist will be held on May 1 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

Meng is majoring in visual arts at Princeton through a collaborative program of the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts, which offers students an opportunity to study art history along with courses in studio art.

Meng’s exhibition deals with cultural identity, specifically her own identity as a Chinese-American woman.

“I have a particular interest in monuments and monumental images of the imagination,” she explains, “In other words, the stereotypes and images that come to mind when one thinks of a certain place or identity. I am concerned with the question of authenticity, and exploring this playfully through a mock-Hollywood lens. I am inspired by the uncanny feeling of walking behind the facade of Disneyland or of Universal Studios.” Meng is also interested in Roman architecture and the idea of facades.

Her show consists of figurative oil paintings executed in a pseudo-academic, pre-modern style as well as sculptural assemblages of painted cardboard monuments propped up by bamboo scaffolding. The oil paintings, which play off neoclassical academic painting motifs, consist of self-portraits, academic nudes, and Chinese-American public figures. They explore the idea of legitimacy in terms of cultural inheritance, asking: what old bastions of culture are appropriate for an American-born Chinese woman such as Meng to lean upon?

The sculptural installation evokes a film set in the process of the active construction of identity and projection of the self into these monumental spaces and the props suggested by the cardboard structures. The work explores the anxieties of one without a concrete identity, grasping at symbols of authority from both the Western canon and from China as seen through an American lens.

The Lucas Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.


Photo link:
Photo caption: One of the paintings by senior Julia Meng that will be part of her exhibition, “Places 2 | Do, Things 2 | Be” at the Lucas Gallery
Photo credit:  Photo by M. Teresa Simao

Event Information

Exhibit runs:
April 28 - May 2, 2014

Opening Reception:
May 1, 2014 • 7:00 p.m.

Gallery Hours
10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Lucas Gallery
Lewis Center for the Arts
at 185 Nassau Street
Princeton University

Free and open to the public




princeton university

News Feed | Events Feed | Contact Us | Credits
© 2014 The Trustees of Princeton University