John Ziqiang Wu’s exhibition explores the spaces that have played a role in his development as an artist, the teachings that inform his role as an educator, and the fluidity of the relationship between student and teacher and personal and institutional space. Wu founded Learning Art and Art Learning Studio in 2014, a workshop he runs primarily from his home studio in Chino, California, where he teaches art to students ranging from children to adults. This collapsing of domestic, artistic, and educational space, all existing as one, mirrors the false boundaries he perceives between the relationship of teacher and learner. Wu came to question the function of art and art education after years of working as an artist and educator, especially as his perception of these roles broke from the mold forged during his own art training. He weaves these investigations into an art practice that includes drawing, painting, installation, performance, and storytelling.
Wu’s exhibition in the Armory’s Mezzanine gallery is inclusive of an installation, produced in part while serving as a visiting artist at California State University, Bakersfield, that examines Wu’s teaching methods, the work of his students, and widely accepted institutional pedagogies; a series of watercolor paintings of diagrammatic illustrations that reveal Wu’s ruminations on art, education, and learning; a collection of self-published books that weave whimsical observations and fantastic interpretations of everyday narratives with emotional personal reflections; and an installation that reflects on his home studio where he works, lives, and teaches.