Cindy Hsu Zell is an artist living in Los Angeles, CA. She grew up near the Angeles National Forest and studied sculpture and animation at USC. Her approach to art stems from this love of nature and movement as well as a deep curiosity about form, texture, and finish. She creates sculptures using mindfully-sourced materials such as wood, ceramics, stone, and natural fibers. Her work is process and material-driven, with individual pieces serving as studies on gesture and gravity.
My technique for spinning and dyeing rope was developed in 2014. It is a careful and meditative process that results in a contrast between the softness of the fibers and the tension required to hold it all together. I find it fascinating that twisting something makes it exponentially stronger. This can be seen in action by holding a piece of tissue and ripping it apart very easily, but then spinning it tight and seeing how much more difficult it is. I like to compare this to the idea that people are stronger together, that there's beauty in distributing the tension among individual strands and creating a support system that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Guided by the tactile nature of clay, each piece is sculpted by hand and explores the balance between the fluidity of the medium and the permanence of fired ceramics. I'm especially drawn to experiments in glazes and finishes as well as combining ceramics with various materials.
My latest series of reliefs explores the technique of wood carving as emotional and physical excavation. Biomorphic forms are revealed in a subtractive process, unearthing personal observations and feelings carved out of solid blocks of wood. Each piece memorializes something in particular: an everyday object, a small gesture, a fleeting moment, a shared memory, or a specific time and place.