Yuh-Shioh Wong, Bowerbirds, (Flying Casanovas), 2007, Burlap, foam core, ribbons, mirror, copper, wood, 81×20.25×30.25 inches. Courtesy of Foxy Production.
Foxy Production presents “13 Ways Forever Expanding Compartments” by Yuh-Shioh Wong, a solo exhibition of new sculptural and painterly assemblages. Wong has produced a striking environment of contrasting figures, colors, materials, shapes and shadows. In the tradition of Franz West or Isa Genzken, she makes highly inventive connections between widely disparate elements in order to investigate the drive to create ideal forms. “13 Ways” highlights how the experimental nature of her practice – her playful mixing and matching of found and improvised elements – relates to the rich conceptual base of her ideas about impermanence, perception and visibility.
The exhibition comprises a series of intricate sculptural works that juxtapose found objects with carved structures, and acrylic and oil paintings, some of which are placed on mirrored shelves.Wong’s objects incorporate oil, burlap, Styrofoam, plaster,wood, seeds and copper, among other materials, in paradoxically studied yet improvisational ways. Her paintings, with their surprising association of forms: angular shapes jostling with flowing ribbons, bubbles, or the organic lines of twigs, evoke figures or scenes without completely defining them.
Wong consistently suggests narratives that are never fully revealed or resolved with the intent of investigating the limits of visual recollection and representation. Bowerbirds (Flying Casanovas) is a birdhouse-like construction with a periscopic view that reveals a wooden bird within a fabric lined interior, while Ceiling to Sky (X-tra Blue) is a long staircase in miniature, fashioned from Styrofoam, stucco and ribbon. Both works have a dynamic theatrical resonance: they seem to allude to scenarios or events that may have just happened, or are just about to happen.
Many of the works create holistic, expressive micro-environments that engage with an expanded sense of the natural world. The floor-based Lens Plant, an assemblage of a painting frame, potting mix, a lighted plastic orb, a rolled up drawing, and a flower-like construction with a lens at its center, seems – despite the heterogeneity of its ingredients – to be a portal to a secret inner universe.
Wong’s uncanny incorporations of unexpected elements seem to mine the subconscious for inspiration. She dramatizes materials through her treatment and placement of them. Textures and forms reverberate with lyrical power despite a deliberate economy of means. Candle-Holder Live-Forever, an acrylic painting resting on a mirrored shelf along with a single acorn, has ambiguous and unsettlingly visceral cross-sections of embryonic flora twirling out in different directions. The collage, Always Been Transitory and Corruptible, comprising acrylic paint and metal foil, hints at but never defines figures, sketching a non-linear narrative that tries to make sense of the forgotten, the unseen, or the unknown.