Gary Woo(1925-2006) was born in Guangzhou and immigrated to San Francisco as a teenager. He spent 8 difficult months at the Angel Island Immigration Center. Woo served in World War II and was stationed in Japan during the occupation. Supported by the GI Bill, he studied with David Park at the California School of Fine Arts and with Lundy Siegriest at the Art league. Woo maintained a studio at Grant and Green and developed a distinctive abstract vocabulary. He sold his poetic abstractions, landscapes, and figures, their jade and oxblood color palettes derived from Song Dynasty ceramics, to local luminaries like the San Francisco Chronicle gossip columnist Herb Caen and art critic Alfred Frankenstein. Successful shows in local galleries and museums and broad-based acclaim solidified his position as one of the leading lights of Pacific Rim abstraction: “Chinese writing is the abstract painting of the Chinese.” He gained great prominence during the 1950s and 1960s. He had an important solo exhibition at the de Young Museum in 1960 and was in the Art in the 20th Century group exhibition at the SFMOMA in 1955. Woo was represented by Bolles Gallery in San Francisco and the Mi Chou Gallery in New York. Since his death in 2006, Woo's art has been exhibited in Asian/American /Modern Art, Shifting Currents, 1990-1970 (de Young Museum), Oakland Museum and the Chinese Historical Society of America.
(Reference: Asian American Art, A History, 1850-1970,Chang, Johnson, Karlstrom, Stanford University Press, 2008)