Cultural Surrealism & The Dress For(u)m
works in a variety of mediums, but primarily with acrylics. She develops her paintings
largely through subconscious inspiration. Often a symbol, an image, or a phrase will begin
her creative process. Each painting develops like the telling of a story and the use of
intense color and ethereal use of perspective has become her trademark.
Cynthia is a seeker and philosopher about issues in her life, her ancestors, and the
community of women. She is sent down new artistic paths through dialog with friends and
family, forming new themes and stories for her paintings. Symbols, cues, and clues fill
her work that has been described as "Cultural Surrealism".
As a third generation Chinese American, Cynthia's mix of
cultures and the subsequent contradictions that implies are expressed in a variety of
ways. Eastern and Western symbols often share space on the same canvas. A Chinese collar
may top a dress form with western sensibilities or a cheong sam is mixed with a Victorian
skirt. Moreover, the clothing takes on its own autonomy. "The dress forms represent
the human spirit. They may exist in different environments, elaborately clothed, or their
interiors become an exposed psychic landscape, regardless of these dress forms
surroundings and embellishments, their essential core, the human spirit, remains a
These strong female images evoke a deep female longing for freedom of expression and a
life of choice.
Her paintings persuade us to go beyond the aesthetic element and to challenge stereotypes
and traditional roles, question paradigms, and encourage an internal dialogue.