Vivian Tsao 曹志漪


The Sycamore Tree  1991-92

Oil on Canvas

40x30 inches


For many years, I pursued art that was calligraphic, a logical solution for a young painter who was exposed to both Chinese and Western traditions. But I developed a relationship with light when I lived in the Middle East.

The steady sun and the hours I spent each day gazing into the distant scene of my window, and the scene of an interior of several doors letting in light from different sources--some cool, some warm--gradually led me to read into light as if it had moods, as if it had been sculptures of time. By using middle-tone colors and colors that are almost white, I jot down momentary responses to what is in front of me. I look for the maximum of tonal variations in a minimum range of contrasts. In the atmosphere of light, I try to construct space. As I question the lines and planes of my subject, I let the spontaneous markings of the brush play an integral part on the canvas. Many years after my days in the Middle East, as I sit down in the studio in the afternoon, I can still feel their impact on my art.


MFA Painting, Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh 

BA Fine Arts, National Normal Univ., Taiwan

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2009 - Invitational show Paintings by Vivian Tsao at National Museum of History, Taiwan

2005 - The Mark of Time: Words & Images at Ceres Gallery, NYC (Reviewed in World Journal )

2003 - Exhibition of Paintings at Ceres Gallery  

1997 - Rhythm of Light at Ceres Gallery

1991 - Interiors in Afternoon Light at Ceres Gallery, (Reviewed in N.Y. Times )

1987 - Exhibition of Paintings at Anna Swenson Gallery, Brattleboro, Vermont

1981 - Invitational show of pastels at Long Island University, NYC

1979 - Exhibition of pastels at National Museum of History, Taiwan

1978 - Exhibition of oils and pastels at Chinese Cultural Center, NYC

1976 - Exhibition of oils and pastels at Hewlett Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University

1973 - Exhibition of paintings at National Taiwan Museum, Taipei    

Selected Group Exhibitions    

2014 - Exhibition Taiwanese Amercian Arts Council TAAC Recognition: Taiwanese American Artists, curated by Luchia Lee at Queens Museum, NYC

2012 - Prescenter on panel “The National Arts Club Authors’ Showcase” at The National Arts Club,NYC

2012 - Exhibition “Inside/Outside” at Ceres Gallery

2006 - "100% Centennial" 100th anniversary exhibition of the College of Fine Arts at Miller 

              Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University 

2004 - Invitational Exhibition of Painting & Sculpture of The American Academy of Arts & 

            Letters, NYC (Reviewed in N.Y. Sun)

2003 - Pastel Society of America Invitational Exhibition at The Butler Institute of American Art, 

            Youngstown, Ohio

2003, 2002 - Curator Series of Pastel Society of America, curated by Jimmy Wright and Diane

              Rosen at The National Arts Club, NYC

2002 - "20/02" 20th anniversary invitational show at the Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn

1999 - Exhibition of the collection from Sun Ten Museum of Los Angeles

              at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan

1998 - Curated and exhibited in two-part show entitled The Autumn Forum at Ceres

1994 - Purchase Program Exhibition of The American Academy of Arts and Letters, NYC

1994 - The Linear Power: Contemporary Drawings by Chinese Artists from New York,

             Beijing and Hong Kong at The Artland Company Gallery, Hong Kong

1990 - The Young and the Beautiful: Paintings and Sculpture curated by Barbara Ingber

              for Museum at Ceres Gallery

1987 - Chinese Art in Transition at City Gallery, NYC (Reviewed in N.Y. Times)

1986, l984, l982 - Pastel shows at Pen and Brush Club, NYC

1986, 1985 - Ten Chinatown show at Asian American Arts Centre, NYC

1984 - Brooklyn '84 exhibition at Brooklyn Museum

1984 - Interiors exhibition at Rotunda Gallery

1982, 1981, 1980 - Midyear Show at The Butler Institute of American Art

1979 - Invitational exhibition by overseas Chinese artists at National Gallery, Taiwan

1977 - National Cape Coral Art Exhibition, Cape Coral, Florida

1970, 1965, 1964 - Annual Juried Exhibition at National Taiwan Museum, Taipei    


Selected Publications and Grants    

2014 - Essay “ The Unexpected Lesson: On Dr. Catherine Yeh” in the anthology on Dr. Yeh published by

the Chinese Culture Universiy in Taiwan

2013 – Essay “ The Studio: On the Art and Teaching of Sun To-ze” in the exhibition catalogue of Prof. Sun To-ze published by the National Museum of History in Taiwan

2009 - Essay “Mirrored Afternoon,” chronicle of my artistic development and images of my painting 

              in the bilingual art book Paintings byVivian Tsao published by National Museum of History

2009 - Essay “Mirrored Afternoon” and images of my art in the monthly Bulletin of National

              Museum of History published by National Museum of History

2007 - Essay "On Revisiting the National Palace Museum" on the newly reconstructed museum

            of classical Chinese art in Taipei and its exhibitions in United Daily News, Taiwan

2003 - Book of essays in the Chinese language: The Mark of Time: Dialogues with Vivian Tsao

              on Art in New York published by Hsiung Shih in Taiwan, presented in 2011 Taipei

              International Book Exhibition, Taiwan (192 pages with 111 plates, 84 in color)

              (Reviewed in Xinhuanet, China)

2000 - Present: Photo essay "Vivian Tsao: Artist Who Meditates on Light" at Biddington's

             internet gallery

2000 - "Black Velvet at Dusk," essay in a Chinese-language anthology published by China

              Times, Taiwan

1999 - "Poetic Reflections: An Essay on the Criticism by Hilton Kramer and by W.S. Di Piero" 

              in the literary section of China Times, Taiwan (Chinese language)

1989 - "The Mark of Time: An Interview with Spanish master Antonio Lopez Garcia in Hsiung

              Shih Art Monthly, Chinese-language magazine published in Taiwan 

1985 - “Artist-in Residence” award ($9,000) from New York State Council on the Arts, NYC

1985 - Essay “Corners and Waves: Interpretations of Space” in catalog Triangular Landscape published

              by Asian American Arts Centre, NYC

1975 - Scholarship grant ($1,000) from Art Department of Carnegie Mellon University    

Work Experience    

1976 - Present: Painter and writer on art at Vivian Tsao Artist

2003 - Present: Contributing writer in USA, United Daily News: Literary Page, Taiwan

1990 - 2006: Adjunct assistant professor of drawing and design in Department of

              Fine Arts, Pace University in New York City

2000 - Present: A selection of my art is represented by Biddington's internet gallery

1990 - 1996: Program auditor, free-lance reviewer of exhibitions for New York State 

              Council on the Arts

1980 - 1996: Correspondent for Hsiung Shih Art Monthly, Taiwan

1985 - 1987: Worked on consignment for The Art Collaborative, NYC

1985 - 1986: Worked in my studio and at Asian American Arts Centre as recipient of artist-in-residence

           grant from New York State Council on the Arts 

1979 - 1980: Worked on consignment for Nardin Galleries, NYC

1976 - 1977: Worked on consignment for Kingpitcher Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

1972 - 1974: Art instructor at National Taipei University of Education, Taiwan

1971 - 1974: Asst. editor of monthly children's art page for Central Daily News, Taiwan    

Selected Artistic Involvements    

 1994, 1995, 2000 - Presented paper and slide show of art by my student at the annual conference of the Society of Fellows of Dyson College, Pace University

1996 - 1999: Juror on panel, New York State Council on the Arts

1997 - Reviewer, Transactions, journal of Society of Fellows of Dyson College, Pace University

1995 - Inducted Fellow of the Society of Fellows of Dyson College

1995 - Judge, Eighth Annual New York City Court Employee's Arts and Crafts Show

           at New York Supreme Court

1989 - Panelist for Daughters of Accomplishment: Chinese Women Artists Past and

          Present at China Institute Gallery, NYC

1985 - Interpreter for international symposium Words and Images at Metropolitan

          Museum of Art, NYC    

Selected Bibliography    

Brenson, Michael. "Vivian Tsao" New York Times, 1 March, 1991 (Review)

Brenson, Michael. "Works by 12 Chinese-Americans in Show" New York Times, 28 August, 1987 (Review)

Chen, Alice. “Painter Vivian Tsao Who Resides in the U.S. Exhibits Her Classics at National Museum of

History” Beautiful Life TV, Taipei, 19 October, 2009 (Video and Review)

Cohen, David. “Into the Light: The Paintings of Vivian Tsao” Paintings by Vivian Tsao. Bilingual catalog.

Taipei: National Museum of History, 2009 (Essay)

Cohen, David. “Gallery-Going” The New York Sun, 11 March, 2004 (Review)

Chung, Kang L. "Painting by Vivian Tsao" Gallery (a Chinese-language art magazine) 

Canton, China, June 1989, pp.42-43 (Review and Reproductions)

Dantzic, Cynthia Maris. Drawing Dimensions: A comprehensive Introduction. New Jersey: 

Prentice-Hall, 1999, page 314 (Reproduction)

Dantzic, Cynthia Maris. 100 New York Painters. Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, November

 2006, pp. 208-209 and jacket spine image (Reproductions and Biography) 

Ho, Hwai Shouh. "Painting by Vivian Tsao" Ten Years by the Oil Lamp. Taiwan: Vast Plain 

Publishing House, August 1974, pp. 223-227 (Review)

Huang, Chun Hsiu. "An Interview with Painter Vivian Tsao about the Art of Pastel" Hsiung Shih

 Art Monthly. Taiwan, April 1990, pp. 128-133 and 136 (Article and Reproductions) 

"In Painter Vivian Tsao's New Book The Mark of Time, She Dialogues with American and 

European Art Masters" Xinhuanet, China, December, 2004 (Article)

"Introduction of Overseas Chinese Artists" and "Works by Vivian Tsao," Painter,  

Hunan, China, April, 1990, pp. 13, 22, 40 and 41 (Introduction and Reproductions)

Pastel Society of America at The Butler Institute of American Art. Catalog. New York: Pastel 

Society of America, 2003, page 80 (Biography and Reproduction)

Sun Ten Museum Collection. Catalog. Taiwan: Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 1999 (Reproduction)

"The Poet" by Vivian Tsao United Daily News: Literary Page, Taiwan, 21 March, 2005


"Vivian J. Tsao" Who's Who in America. New Jersey: Marquis Who’s Who, 2005 - 2011 (Biographical


“Vivian Tsao’s Exhibition of Paintings” News, Taiwan Television Enterprise, Ltd., Taipei, 17 October,

1973, #new0255104 (Film)

Without Ceremony. Anthology. New York: Ikon, Inc. January, 1989, pp. 40-41 (Reproductions)