artist / participant
Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao immigrated to Vancouver from Taiwan when he was 18, eventually making his way to New York to study art and photography at Pratt Institute and The School of Visual Arts. After building a body of work, Liao submitted his portfolio to the New York Times and won the 2nd Annual “Capture the Times” photography contest this past December. His evocative large-scale panoramic views of life in Queens are presented at the QMA in Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao: Habitat 7, his first solo museum exhibition.
Liao’s work is rooted in the cultural diversity that has been a binding factor in the borough of Queens, and more specifically, the role of the #7 train in the development of this unequaled diversity. The Flushing IRT has long been dubbed “The International Express” due to the myriad nationalities that have formed hybrid communities along train’s route. Like the great civilizations that lined the major rivers of the world, the #7 is one of New York’s important arteries and has been an inspiration for numerous creative ideas on the levels of both economic and cultural exchange. Installed in the Panorama of the City of New York, Habitat 7 invites a reconsideration of the ways in which modern societies evolve around the manmade river basins of today.
Liao’s photographic eye has been influenced by the seminal work of German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher and their protégé Andreas Gursky. Liao works with a large format camera that can produce an 8 x 10 negative. Many shots of a single scene over a period of time are then grafted together with digital technology. “By joining the pieces together in post-production,” Liao says, “I can best represent the atmosphere of time and give both panoramic and detailed representation of the environment.” With these cinematic photographs, Liao is “interested in observing how people uphold their ethnic traditions while pursuing the typical American dream.”
Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao: Habitat 7