Amy Cheng was born in Taiwan, raised in Brazil, Oklahoma and Texas. She received a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York. She has exhibited her paintings nationally and internationally; her work is held in a number of corporate and public collections. She has completed a number of public art commissions including projects at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the Howard St. El Station in Chicago, IL, the Cleveland Street Subway Station in Brooklyn, NY, the 25th Avenue Subway Station in Brooklyn, NY, the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Metro Link Station, the Jacksonville International Airport, FL, the Slauson Bus Station, Los Angeles, CA, traffic box coverings in downtown Odessa, TX, and the Valley Regional Transit Station in Boise, ID . She received a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship to Renmin University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China in Spring 2017, a P.S. 122 Painting Center Fellowship in New York City for a ten-month residency in 2011-12, and a Senior Lecture/Research Fulbright fellowship to Brazil in 2008. She has been awarded two New York Foundation for the Arts Painting Fellowships, and an Arts International travel grant to China. She is a Professor in the Art Department at the State University of New York at New Paltz.
My paintings fuse pictorial language from three different cultural and religious traditions – Eastern Hindu-Buddhist, Middle Eastern Islamic, and European Judeo-Christian. I do not make religious art: I view my work as entirely secular. But secularism does not preclude the spiritual, the contemplative, the mystical, or the sacred. If pressed I would admit I think all art making is devotional. I believe when we are telling stories, singing, dancing, drawing, carving, we are directly engaged in spiritual activities that takes us out of time into a different realm.
Sumptuous, intricate, ornamented, my current paintings are richly referential – they call to mind a range of associations from mandalas, the cosmos, cells, lace, brocade and more. I align myself with the long tradition of geometric and floral ornamentation the Far Eastern, Middle Eastern, and European craftsmen have long employed. They did so with the implicit understanding that pattern and repetition, which are endemic in nature, are primal in their rhythmic connection to the human nervous system.
I identify my work with the long tradition of visual artists interested in notions of cosmology. I am, as my friend the artist Thomas Lyon Mills says, painting worlds within worlds with the aim of revealing profound, contemplative, slow, truths.