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Dr. Pepper, 7-11, and Funyuns are Texas icons. For Stephanie H. Shih, they also offer inspiration for the work she is presenting with Alexander Berggruen at this year's Dallas Art Fair. "I like to ground the work in the location where it is being seen because I want viewers to feel that extra pang of recognition," says the Brooklyn-based artist. Each hand-built, hand-painted stoneware construction is the result of methodical research, making it almost possible to form a site map of where she has shown her work.

Stephanie H. Shih is particularly interested in how cultures overlap as well as the effects that migration has on one’s identity. “My practice is focused around my identity as an Asian American in the diaspora,” she notes. The daughter of Taiwanese parents, she adds that rather than being pulled between two worlds, she sees, “the unique identity that comes out of being the child of immigrants.”

As the work she is bringing to Dallas attests, food serves as a central theme. By focusing on it, she says that she is tapping into something that is not only universal but also culturally specific. “Food holds a specific place in Chinese and Taiwanese culture. It really is threaded through our society in a way that I think is very unique,” she explains. Using food as a springboard also allows her to connect with a wide audience. According to Alexander Berggruen, “These offer points of connection for a wide variety of people of different backgrounds, different origins, and different walks of life. I always enjoy seeing how visitors connect with various aspects of her work, often from a very personal, gut reaction.”

This will be the first time Shih's work is being shown in Dallas and the second year that Berggruen will be at the Dallas Art Fair. While the gallery will feature the work of seven artists, Bergguen notes, "Stephanie stands out as a single ceramicist and sculptor."