During the course of sipping and chatting, she engages guests in an ongoing discussion about the nature of balance and equanimity. Before the guests depart, Weihong photographs each one, later posting the photos on her website, weihong.org, and hanging prints in future shows. Luminaries such as Giorgio Armani have sat with the artist, as have hundreds of people whose names aren't famous but who, the artist says, are every bit as fascinating. These photos, many of which line Ogle's walls, are well-executed, awash in natural light and capturing the personalities of each subject with a thoughtfulness that only portraiture can convey.
Weihong is quick to correct the impressions of hopelessly Western-minded tea drinkers like myself. "I like the whole opposition-of-dichotomies thing," I told her on opening night. "It's not about extremes," she said, raising her finger, "it's about the change that happens in between." Duly noted. In today's polarized political climate, we would do well to take this distinction to heart. French philosopher Jean Baudrillard foresaw our times in his 1983 Fatal Strategies: "The world is not dialectical," he wrote, "it is sworn to extremes, sworn not to equilibrium but to radical antagonism." Weihong has devised a deceptively simple interactive experience to remind us of the expansive middle ground in which the real marrow of life resides. Synthesis lies between thesis and antithesis—which is why the medium is happy, the Mean is Golden, and compromise is an art. Mr. Bush should stop in and sit and sip.
Weihong invites you to join her for tea at Ogle between 4 and 6 pm Tuesday-Saturday, until the show ends Feb. 24. 310 NW Broadway, 227-4333.