Whimsical Sister Group

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Whimsical Sister Group
Curated by: Ariel Zaccheo

800 Chestnut St.
(between Jones and Leavenworth)
94133 San Francisco

February 4th, 2013 - February 8th, 2013
Opening: February 5th, 2013 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Other (outside areas listed)
415.771.7020 ext. 4410
Sun-Sat 9am- 5pm
San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)
mixed-media, installation, sculpture


Artists Emily Bayless, Li Ma, Ingrid V. Wells, and Momo Yao join forces as the WHIMSICAL SISTER GROUP for an exhibition at San Francisco Art Institute’s Diego Rivera Gallery. The show will run from February 4-9th, with an opening reception and artist’s talk on Tuesday, February 5th at 5pm.

The WHIMSICAL SISTER GROUP show is a lighthearted examination of feminine identity through a variety of media. Narratives of sisterhood, bodily abjection and childhood fantasy are woven through mediums of installation, sculpture, painting and pencil drawings.  Using the body as a flexible object of discourse, these artists stretch and contort normative understandings of gender identification and feminine collectivity.

Emily Bayless’ work explores these relationships through ceramic-based /mixed media sculpture and installations. The process of covering ceramic with encaustic results in fleshy, membranous sculptures that immediately recall the corporeal and the comfort/discomfort one has in one’s own skin.

Momo Yao’s enchanted water-soluble pencil works and installations enfold the viewer into her personal childhood wonderland. The installations capriciously straddle the natural environment and a world of make-believe. Written into the fantasy and nostalgia is a discovery of the way in which feminine behavior is coded during adolescence.

Ingrid V. Wells uses soft color palettes and entangled figures on large canvasses to expose intimate, privately kept relationships between women. Her canvasses confront the viewer with the complicated bonds between women and emboldens the oft-overlooked notion of sisterhood.  

Li Ma examines femininity as it is embedded in the domestic sphere through an exploration of architectural forms.  Although her sculptures immediately recall whimsical architectural sites, the open structures play with notions of interiority and gendered divisions between public/private space.

Emily Bayless, the daughter of two nurses, grew up in Arizona with a curiosity for the human body. She received her Bachelors of Arts from ASU and is currently a visiting artist at Cal State University Long Beach. She lives and works in Los Angeles. More of her work can be seen here:

Li Ma (Mary Ma) received a Bachelors of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Shanghai Dong Hua University. She now lives and works in San Francisco, and is a candidate for an MFA degree from San Francisco Art Institute, anticipated by 2013. More of her work can be seen here:

Ingrid Wells earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with a double major in Painting and Art Education from Arizona State University. Currently Wells is pursuing her MFA at San Francisco Art Institute with an anticipated graduation in Spring 2013. More of her work can be seen here:

Momo Yao is currently pursuing her MFA at San Francisco Art Institute, and anticipates to graduate in 2013. She grew up in Guangzhou and received her Bachelor’s of Arts in philosophy from Sun Yat-Sen University.

WHIMSICAL SISTER GROUP will be showing February 4-9th at the Diego Rivera Gallery at the
San Francisco Art Institute’s historic 800 Chestnut Street campus. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. For more information, visit