Newsletter 2019: Learning to See essay

Newsletter 2019: Learning to See essay

Amy surrounded by her Graduate Painting students at Renmin University of China, Beijing, Spring 2017

Learning to See: A Fulbright Semester Teaching Painting in Beijing

I share below an essay I wrote about my Spring 2017 Fulbright semester teaching at the Renmin University of China’s Graduate Painting Program. This essay has been published by Routledge Press in a book titled Inquiries from Fulbright Lecturers in China: Cross-Cultural Connections in Higher Education.

I had a wonderful time in China, I made friends, I spent time with my Chinese relatives, I traveled widely within the country lecturing at different universities and art schools — I learned A LOT.

If interested you can read my essay below.

I spent the spring of 2017 as a visiting professor in the Graduate Painting Program at Renmin University of China in Beijing. I was born in Taiwan, immigrating to the West with my family at age 4. My parents grew up in China, and we spoke Chinese at home. But despite being ethnically Chinese, I experienced two cultural gaps while teaching in China, the first one in the student-teacher relationship and the second on the subject matter of the course.

My Chinese students’ ability to understand English varied widely, but they all had handy Chinese-to-English translation apps on their cell phones. I depended on my MacBook Air as an essential teaching tool, since my Chinese vocabulary is limited to the domestic and quotidian; I carried it with me everywhere and relied on Google Translate. I would type out entire paragraphs; if the translation came out garbled, they would let me know and I would rephrase and try again. I made myself available once a week for studio visits with students not enrolled in my class; in this way, I was able to meet other art students, both graduate and undergraduate. I also took interested students on field trips to art openings, exhibitions, and studio visits.

To my delight, the Chinese have no difficulty understanding that I — who look just like them — am American. When I travel elsewhere in the world — Egypt, Italy — people sometimes have a hard time grasping this concept.

When we went out together, the students had an endearing way of offering to carry my things — coats, bags. Since Beijing is extremely dry, they were attentive in offering me tea and bottled water. But the incident that completely disarmed me happened at a class party I hosted in my apartment that devolved into the playing of games, games that were like rowdy versions of “Simon Says.”

At semester’s end, the students organized a potluck dinner in the graduate painting studio. When I arrived, one of the students handed me a bag of gifts — an ingenious eyebrow pencil and shaping knife, which she promptly READ MORE

August 2015

Beyond the Biosphere newsletter image

Beyond the Biosphere, consisting of two printed vinyl canopies measuring 17.5 x 105 feet, was recently installed at the Slauson Station in Los Angeles, CA.


Arabesque, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches, 2015

I am participating in the 4th Annual Juried International Exhibition of Contemporary Islamic Art at LuminArte Fine Art Gallery, Dallas, TX. The exhibition was curated by Salma Tuqan, Curator, Contemporary Arab Art and Design, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK. The show runs from September 26 – October 31, 2015.

 Newsletter 8_15 double ptg

I am pleased to announce that I have joined the Mary Tomás Gallery in Dallas, TX where I have been included in two group exhibitions this year, COLOR and GEOMETRIC REPETITION.

January 2015

I am pleased to announce my first solo museum show opening January 23, 2015 in Plattsburgh, New York. If you’re driving to Montreal it may be on the way!

Plattsburgh Museum label all red

Breathing Lessons

My MTA subway project on the D Line at 25th Avenue, Brooklyn, was featured in the New York Times in October 16, 2014.

NYTimes D Line article

I had work included in two exhibitions, The Reason for Beauty, at the Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, MA curated by Sue and Phil Knoll, and 2014 Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region at the Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY curated by Stephen Westfall.

2014 exhs


July 2014

If you find yourself in or near Westport, CT, please drop by to see the Summer Rotation show at Amy Simon Fine Art.

Summer Rotation 2014 ecard

About 15 minutes away, under the auspices of Amy Simon Fine Art three of my paintings will be shown in the atrium lobby of Riverpark (800 Connecticut Ave.) in Norwalk, CT through Fall 2014.norwalk, ct lobby art

I was recently in a three-person exhibition. Chroma, at the Hudson Beach Gallery in Beacon, NY organized by Suzanne Ball and Carl Van Brunt.Layout 1

And I was interviewed along with a group of immigrant Chinese-American artists currently teaching at U.S. colleges who belong to a loose affiliation called Across the Divide. The group has been showing their work together in juried exhibitions since 2004.

The video can be seen here:

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 11.31.21 AM

January 2014

January 2014

You are invited to a show

Time and Again
Central Booking
21 Ludlow St.
New York, NY

The opening is Thursday, Feb. 6
6:00-8:00 pm.

The show runs Feb. 6 – March 30, 2014.
I have three small paintings in the show.


I am also having a solo show

Amy Cheng: Irrational Exuberance

Tower Fine Arts Gallery
University of New York at Brockport

Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 4:00-5:00 is the opening.
The show runs Jan. 28 – Feb. 23, 2014.
There is an exhibition catalog. A PDF of the catalog is available on this site under News and Links

catalog cover
If you are ever at the Lambert-St. Louis, International Airport you can see two waterjet-cut ceramic tile murals I installed.

Nucleic Life Formation
measuring 11 x 15-ft and 6 x 24-ft are located near the airport’s MetroLink Station.

St. Louis wide

St. Louis 1      detail circles

St Louis4

Photo of finished project: Richard Sprengeler. Installation photos: Jeffrey Lea


I have received a commission from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Metro Creative Services to design a set of canopies for one of the L.A. Silver Line stations. This is one of my proposed designs.

Canopy in situ


I was interviewed by CUNY TV for a feature called Study with the Best. My short segment starts at about 17:30 minutes into the program. It is followed by an interview with Robert Hickman who designed and fabricated the elegant and understated West 72nd St. Subway Station project. After him there’s a segment on Lucy McKenzie, a young Scottish artist who is very interesting.

To view the segment search online for: Study with the Best Amy Cheng

I visited Amsterdam in January. Here are a couple of photos taken in Rembrandt’s House. He lived here for nineteen years at the height of his success (1639-58). But he must not have been very good at managing money because in nineteen years he managed to pay off less than half his mortgage. He ended up bankrupt losing the house and all the household goods, moving to a smaller house where he lived the rest of his life.


August 2013

August 2013

What I Did During My Summer Vacation

In late June I installed a three-part mosaic mural, Celestial Playground, at the Jacksonville International Airport, Jacksonville, FL.

JAX with text

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January 2013

January 2013

January 2013

Hello Friends,

Happy New Year ! I am fulfilling my resolution to send out newsletters twice a year.

In August I returned to New Paltz and resumed my teaching responsibilities at SUNY New Paltz where I was very happy to re-meet up with our very talented students.

Read More

July 2012

July 2012

July 2012

I am marking the completion of a productive 10-month sabbatical in NYC by holding an Open Studio on Thursday, July 26, Noon to 7:00 pm.

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