A beautiful mistake takes root in Flushing

On the third floor of a commercial building in Flushing sits an artistic oasis waiting to be discovered. The newly opened Hwang Gallery has the sleek look of a seasoned art space, but offers an opportunity few galleries in the area have been able to — provide a place for Asian and Asian-influenced artists to share their work. “This all happened by accident,” the owner of the gallery, John Hwang, said. “My father is a photographer and we were looking for a place to show his photos and every place we saw was just plain ugly.” Hwang eventually settled on building his own space, which led to creating the Hwang Gallery. The gallery almost directly mirrors its owner’s personality: professional and collected but also unafraid to crack a joke once in a while. “All I’m used for is hanging the high paintings,” he joked. Hwang Gallery’s latest exhibit is “Tuesday: Recalled,” a solo show featuring California resident Jane Liu. “To be an artist with my first show in New York is very exciting to me,” Liu said. The artist’s work, a mixture between abstract and impressionistic, has a romantic feel to it, though there are a few pieces that drastically differ from the majority of her paintings. “We say she has like a split personality. That painting,” Hwang said, pointing at a dream-like field of grass and wildflowers, “there is no way it was painted by the same person as that one,” referring to an acrylic painting with harsh lines and darker colors. Liu agrees her work isn’t always consistent, but said there’s no reason why it should be. “I like to mix it up and keep it different,” she said. “Each painting comes from a different place or a different memory. If I didn’t make things different, it would be so boring. But maybe he’s right, maybe I do have a split personality.” A most special treat is the unofficial signature Liu puts on all her pieces. “I have a fascination with circular things, so in each of my paintings, there is a circle or a dot in the painting,” she said. Some of the circles are obvious, like the big blue dot in her piece “Blue Sun,” while others are nearly impossible to find, like the one in her triptych piece depicting an almost purple horizon. “I guess it can sort of be a game to find the circle,” Iris Hung, who also works for the Hwang Gallery, said. “It can be a scavenger hunt.” The gallery is definitely a diamond in the rough and deserving of many more visitors — though, having only opened in April, it is still building a following. Hwang is also working on partnering with the Parks Department and other galleries for an art festival where artists from around the world and around the corner will be invited to showcase their work. The gallery owner is also looking to incorporate other types of media in his space, such as dance or music. “All I demand of the artists I choose to represent is that they have respect for themselves and respect for their work,” Hwang said. “If they come to me without any respect, how can they expect me to put them in a show and promote their work to other people?” Liu is also due to participate in several more shows at Hwang Gallery, but for the rest of the month, the place is hers. “It’s a great opportunity to be given a solo exhibition,” she said. Up next for Hwang Gallery is “The Rising Gamut of Colors — Dancer Series” by Shien-Mao Lin, who paints abstract portraits of figures — mainly his girlfriend — dancing. Read original article »