Painting, mixed media, and installation, cultural and social issues
Cynthia Tom is a visual multi-media artist, passionate about social justice, women’s issues and playing with the accepted norm. Surrealism is the platform for her ideas to ruminate, take form, solutions discovered and color to inspire.
A seeker and philosopher about issues in her life, her ancestors and the community of women, she is inspired by dialog with friends and family, forming new themes and stories for her work. Collaboration and brainstorming are her playgrounds.
Her work has been exhibited at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, the De Young Museum, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and various other galleries from New York to Washington to San Francisco. She lectures on her work, issues related to women, feminism in the arts and Asian American women in the arts, most recently for the College Art Association’s Annual Conference.
Cynthia is included in the text book, “Women Artists of the American West”, edited by Susan Ressler, University of Purdue and “Traces of Migration and In-Betweeness: Poetics and Politics in Post-colonial Asian Women Artists”, by Laura Fantone PhD, SF Art Institute ,University of Padua Press, Italy. Cynthia is currently Board President, Exhibitions Curator and Programs Chair of AAWAA, Asian American Women Artists Association.
A third-generation Chinese American, Cynthia draws inspiration from divergent
cultures. The resulting contradictions are expressed in a variety of ways. Eastern and Western symbols often share space on the same canvas. Fanciful dresses portray a prophetic wish for people to raise their consciousness and her strong female images evoke a longing for freedom of expression and a life of choice.
Symbols, cues and clues fill her art, which is described as “Cultural Surrealism”.
Cynthia’s paintings and installations persuade us to look beyond the aesthetic--to challenge stereotypes and traditional roles, questioning paradigms and
encourages our internal dialogue.
Selected Solo Exhibitions and Artist in residence programs
2005 Undiscovered Research, Exhibition in conjunction with the Artist in Residence Program,
The Legion of Honor, San Francisco
2005 February Arts in San Francisco, Borgia Fine Arts Gallery, S.F.
2003 Juried Exhibition, 2100 Webster Pan-Pacific Public Space, San Francisco, CA
2002 Exhibition in conjunction with the Artist in Residence, San Francisco Fine Arts Museums
to coincide with the Legion of Honor’s Surrealist Exhibition, Dreaming with Eyes Wide Open.
2000 The Artist’s Studio Exhibition and Artist in Residence, M.H. de Young Museum,
San Francisco, CA
1997 Astra Merck Gallery-Solo exhibition, Lynn Rolston, Sacramento, CA
1997 Midtown Arts Center-Solo exhibition, St. Louis, MO
Selected Group Exhibitions
2011 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts-RBI Gallery-Discards & VAriances
2010 SF Arts Commission Art in Storefronts artist 950 Grant Ave
2009 5th Annual National Self Portrait Exhibition, Zhou B. Art Center, Chicago. Juror: Gregg Hertzlieb
Director/curator of the Brauer Museum of Art, Indiana.
2009 Hybridity-Guest Installation Artist, Rio Yanez Curator, SomArts Cultural Centre, San Francisco
2009 A Place Of Her Own-AAWAA-Curator and artist, de Young Museum Cultural Encounters,
Artists in Residence, San Francisco
2008 East Meets West, ArtSF Gallery, 49 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
2007 Guest Curator and Artist: Cheers to Muses, Contemporary Works by Asian American Women,
Chinese Culture Center, SF
2006- Ongoing Installation Artist, SomArts Cultural Center’s Annual Day of the Dead Exhibition
2004 Guest Artist – Uncrossing the XX – The Feminine Identity, Delta Center for the Arts &
The LH Horton Jr., Gallery, Stockton, CA
2004 Invitational Artist – Year of the Monkey: Chinese Artists, Different Continents,
Univ. of Channel Islands, CA
2003 Guest Artist – The De Young Museum Topping Off Ceremony, Golden Gate Park, S.F.
2003 Woman as Symbol, juried group show, Ca Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco
2003 Female as Vessel as Female, Journey of Elevation, SF Arts Commission Chinatown Gallery,San Francisco, CA
2002 Artists of the Sunset – A Group Show, De Young Museum Art Center, San Francisco, CA
2002 Slowly Enter, SF Arts Commission Chinatown Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Curator-Rachel Osajima, MOMA Rental Gallery and Richmond Art Center, CA
2001 Annual Bay Arts 2001, San Mateo County Arts Council, San Mateo;
Curator - Phil Linhares, chief curator of the Oakland Museum, CA
2001 Crossing Bridges, CBS MarketWatch Studios, San Francisco, CA
2001 Angel Island: Chinese Immigration Experience, SF Arts Commission Chinatown Gallery
2000 Guest Artist - Annual Surrealism Exhibition, Goldstrom Gallery, New York, NY
2000 Passing, Euphrat Museum, Sunnyvale, CA
1999 Nine Lives, Works Gallery, San Jose, CA
1999 They Hold Up Half the Sky, SomArts Cultural Center-San Francisco, CA
1999 Family Diversity, Koret Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
1998 Asian American Women Artists, Center for Visual Arts, Oakland, CA
1998 Women of the Northwest, Wiseman Gallery, Grants Pass, OR
Publications and Interviews
2009-2011 Featured artist in textbook Traces: migration in the work of post-colonial East-Asian
women artists in California by Laura Fantone PhD, Italy, Scholar-in-residence, UC Berkeley for Gender, Beatrice Bain Research Group
September 2009 SF Chronicle's 96 Hours Visual Arts- Featured artist for SF Open Studios
December 2008 ABC Channel 7 - Profiles of Excellence, Emerging Leaders in San Francisco
August 2007 Cheers To Muses, an Anthology of Contemporary Work by Asian American Women.
August 2006 Altered Barbie Calendar, Julie Anderson publishing, San Francisco
April 2005 Interview for television: Mandalay Productions, Intl.: Quest for Beauty,
Women Who Use Beauty as a Commodity.
June 2004 Book cover: The Experience of Modernity, Janet Ng, Univ. of Michigan Press.
October 2003 Art and Soul, the SF Sunset Beacon –Jonathan Farrell
May 2003 Women Artists of the American West, Book and CD and curriculum
Susan Ressler PhD., editor, Purdue University Press.
May 2002 Dreaming with Eyes Wide Open, Artist in Residence at the San Francisco
Fine Arts Museums, SF Arts Monthly
April, July 2001 Art That Moves, Ron Curran, editor-BANG magazine
February 1999 Re-Orientation: Washington Square Gallery- Gennie Rim, AsianWeek
February 1999 Art Review, Koret Gallery - San Jose Mercury News
August 1998 Of Our Own Voice, Asian American Women Artists –Anthology
May 1998 The Point Spring Show - SF Chronicle Sunday Arts and Entertainment
March 1998 Women of the Northwest – University of Oregon, Wiseman Gallery, OR
Board of Directors President- AAWAA - Asian American Women Artists' Assn.
CA Lawyers for the Arts, Women’s Caucus for the Arts-member
International Museum of Women –member.
De Young Museum’s Asian American Audience Development
December 2008 ABC Channel 7 – AWARD for Excellence, Emerging Leaders in San Francisco
Selected Guest Lectures and Workshop
2009 Cynthia Tom, Her Art, Feminism and Asian American women artists UC Berkeley Asian American studies lecture
2009 Asia Society presents Asian American Art: Feminism and the Arts :Panel Discussion
2008 Asian American Art, Where Are We Now?- UC Berkeley, Calif.
2007 Chinese Culture Center, Cheers to Muses, Curatorial Director
2005 Artists and the Business of Art, Marketing yourself. AAWAA newsletter and workshops.
2005 Mills College, Asian American Women Artists’, Their Work, Their Process,
Their Progress. Cynthia Tom’s Concepts, Art Dept., Mills College, Oakland, CA
2003 The De Young Museum, S.F., Celebration, collage workshop-Concourse GG Park.
2002 The De Young Art Center, San Francisco? Intuitive Collage, a mixed media workshop
2002 The Legion of Honor and the de Young Museum Art Center, San Francisco Artist demonstrations and process workshops during Artist in Residence.
2002 City College of San Francisco, Rick Rodriquez-professor – Surrealism and the Psychology of my art process.
2001 SF ArtSpan/Open Studios Preview Event, Art, The Artist, the Buyer.
2000-2002 U.C. Berkeley and SF State University?Artists and the Business of Art
1999 CA College of Arts and Crafts?The Business of Art
1999 Euphrat Museum, Sunnyvale, CA. Guest artist and speaker