International award-winning Chinese-American painter and 1964 Kenyon alumnus, David Diao (b. 1943 Chengdu, China) retraces his childhood experience of Hong Kong during the years immediately following his family’s escape from Communist China and prior to immigrating to the U.S. Consistent through five decades of artistic engagement, Diao’s work exhibits a deep and personal commitment to the history of modernist painting and an abiding interest in the archive and how history is maintained.
David Diao began making paintings in 1964. He had immigrated to the US only nine years prior and the retelling of this pivotal journey is still a rich subject for him to this day. The influence of minimalism, abstract expressionism and color field painting is ever present in his work and he often directly references works by artists participating in those movements; such as Ad Reinhardt, Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman. Another key feature of his work is the inclusion of archival material. Diao utilizes this material to supplement his own memory of past events and many of his canvases include archival photographs and ephemera as focal points.
After graduating from Kenyon in 1964, Diao studied at the Cooper Union in NYC where he continues to live and work. He was also a faculty member of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program from 1970 to 2000. Diao’s paintings are included in many major collections, including the Hirshhorn Museum, MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, SFMOMA and others. In 2014, Diao’s work was featured in a solo show at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and, in 2015, a large-scale comprehensive retrospective was organized by the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.
Image credit: Photo by Kristine Larsen and courtesy of Postmasters Gallery.
Gund Gallery exhibitions and public programs are supported, in part, by the Gund Gallery Board of Directors and the Ohio Arts Council.
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