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the figures standing in for different sides of the human psyche. They stand in for parts of myself

Time:2017-10-04 09:39Shoes websites Click:

kristen liu-wong conflict/resolution corey helford gallery the future is female

Courtesy Corey Helford Gallery




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With their neon clothing and flowing hair, the figures that Kristen Liu-Wong paints look like they could kick the shit out of you.

A few clues might lead you to that realization: their bared and sharp teeth; their dark, almost pupil-less eyes; their brightly painted, talonlike fingernails; their unconcealed weapons.

In A Choice, a mysterious figure turns to the viewers as if caught in the middle of something. There’s a knife at her thigh, held in place by a high-tech cuff that seems to have buttons on it. She’s bleeding from a couple of places and there’s a strange, blue-and-pink gun propped up next to her. A broken window shows a glimmer of the sky outside and in the midst of it all a can of orange Fanta peeks out from around the corner.

Liu-Wong takes us on a journey with her acrylic pieces: She asks that we follow her into scenes from the not-so-distant future in which close battles must be fought in Spandex outfits and with weapons we don’t even know about yet. Take, for instance, a blade that protrudes from a spiked latex sleeve that makes the wearer look more like she has a tentacle than an arm.

Courtesy Corey Helford Gallery


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For her current solo show, “Conflict/Resolution,” Liu-Wong created a series of brightly colored scenes that ooze “aggression and violence and other human emotions like that.” In each piece she captures “the conflict in our own natures,” the figures standing in for different sides of the human psyche.

“They stand in for parts of myself but they’re really heightened parts of myself,” Liu-Wong says. “They’re a lot stronger and fiercer than I am. In my everyday life I’m just a normal person. I’m not wearing Spandex onesies and shooting guns off. It’s kind of like a bit of escapism for me, but they also reflect all of the parts of myself — the vulnerabilities too and the weaknesses. The petty impulses.”

They also reflect her fascination with the contraptions of the future, a curiosity she’s been stoking since she was young.


Photo by Bryan “Birdman” Mier/Courtesy Corey Helford Gallery.


“I was really into technology as a kid,” Liu-Wong says. “I loved Inspector Gadget. I loved the idea of the convenience in one thing, you know? That was just so amazing to me. And I liked technology because it’s kind of limitless in how you can make it up.”

Exploring these possibilities through art isn’t new to her, either.

“I had a little fake notebook that I made that I drew computer symbols and stuff all over when I was a little kid,” Liu-Wong says. “I used to carry it around and pretend that it was like everything I needed — like a vending machine, a computer. Just because I was really into that whole idea of being ready for everything, you know?”

The figures are clearly ready to fight — they have the tools and they have the brawn — but it’s not like each piece is supposed to be all fight and no play. You can catch Liu-Wong’s sense of humor in the little details, such as a still-smoldering cigarette butt or a pair of bunny slippers. In college, Liu-Wong was afraid of making art that “took itself too seriously.” Now she’s found a way to combine the two sides of her art making.

Courtesy Corey Helford Gallery


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