Monachopsis: Origin Stories [in progress til mid-Dec 2018]
Monachopsis: “the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place”
Fifteen years after moving away from America, I spent a chilly summer in San Francisco to explore the starting point of my life (the Bay Area) and envision the lives possible if I'd been molded by that city instead of others. And I discovered things wouldn't have been much different. The scenery? Some of the packaging? Yes. But it would have been fundamentally the same. Somehow it was the conclusion to a journey I'd not realized I'd been taking.
My conflicted relationship with America directed the choice of materials: paints made with crushed Afghan stones and painted on paper of US military uniforms, some of which had been worn on tours of Afghanistan.
Screenprints to follow in December during my Open Studio in Hong Kong.
First phase of painting from an uphill ride out to Twin Peaks. White lead oils over Afghan lapis, painted on handmade paper of military uniforms: conflicts of materials as I work through ambivalence towards my home country
On the ferry to Vallejo. Painting the route from San Francisco to the town where I was born. Second layer of four: lead white & Afghan lapis on US military uniforms. More here
Angles in the Castro
First stage of painting the spiderweb abstraction of cables above Castro & Market. Painting possible imaginary lives if I grew up in this city where I was born. Conflicts within and between materials as I work through ambivalence towards the home country I left many years ago: Lead white over Payne's Grey Lapis & Ultramarine Ash on Combat Paper. More here
Walking though former shipyards on an Mare Island, across from the town where I was born. The flatness of landscape and architecture, the open space and acres of asphalt, so American. Second layer of four, white lead oils over handmade acrylic lapis lazuli, on Combat Paper made of US military uniforms. . The base layer of lapis was sparsely painted so I'll be generous with it later on.
At nearly midnight and an hour later than planned I clean up the lead and Canadian balsam with spike lavender & walnut oils painted on lapis and call it a day.
Halfway finished painting of home from a town where I was born but not raised and never really knew. I can only understand something completely once I paint it. Do I understand this place more now? Maybe.
First stages of a pared back painting of angular light. Looking at the artwork upside down to see how the shapes fit together. From a former speakeasy, Dylan Thomas quotes painted above the bar. Lead white on Afghan lapis, painted on paper of US military uniforms. More here
Lead white and lapis make the gate of a bookshop saved by crowdfunding and leaving the neighborhood it helped gentrify. More here
Picked up 250 sheets of Combat Paper for this series from Shotwell Paper Mill. Made of US military uniforms, many in this batch were contributed by Jo, who wore hers in Afghanistan.
San Francisco's distinctive Don't Walk symbol was made into a watermark for Shotwell’s combat paper.
Grinding tempered glass with carbon silicate to create a rough surface for mulling paints
Ground semiprecious Afghan stones paired with American science, mixed with handmade Russian glass. Making paints more beautiful than whatever I can make with them. Lapis lazuli mulled with Golden (GAC 100) acrylic medium.
Lapis x 8
Eight shades of blue lapis lazuli for making paints, from leftover residue (Ultramarine Ash) to the finest grade, Fra Angelico Blue. I've always dreamed of using these crushed stones for painting, this year I finally managed it.
Subdivided [In progress til 22nd December 2018]
Sunlight and shadows, empires, cultures and languages rise and decay, the ruin inherent in older Kowloon buildings like mine where concrete was likely made with seawater and crumbles before its time.
One day, fed up with peeling vinyl on windows from previous tenants, I decided to find beauty in their translucent patterns instead, and turned my mid-century Kowloon windows into printing plates: monochrome, light filtering through shadow and time.
Materials used to make the prints: Cyanotype on cotton/mulberry/bamboo paper, detritus, time, air conditioning leakage, sunlight on longest and shortest days of 2017 & 2018
Cruel Luxuries [in progress]
Cruel Luxuries is an exploration of the sacrifices behind many of humanity's highest or most luxurious art forms, from large (the Pyramids) to small (silkworms): a reflection on the duality of beauty and its opposite, which are often simultaneously present in art and culture worldwide. Cruel Luxuries consists of a half-hour dialogue with the past and future, each experimental performance incorporating more layers of sound and material.
Greenbacks Project [in progress til 31st Dec 2018]
Greenbacks Project pairs the US and China through our currencies. The US Dollar and Chinese Yuan are tied more closely, and affect more peoples' lives, than ever before.
For the project, five hundred US $1s and 500 Chinese bills are carved into the shapes of words people associate with money in different languages. Participants are all affected by fortunes tied to the Chinese and US economies. Mao and Washington's faces have been whitewashed over, leaving the verso of the bills green. All bills were purchased by the artist; the project has received no outside financial support.
Participants are asked: "Tell me a word you think of, when you think about money. Money is something we use every day, it has power over us, causes us stress or happiness. But it has as much power as we give it."
When the artwork is finished, a total of 1000 now-useless pieces of paper will be transformed into a large-scale artwork (2m x 3m) with video and photos of contributors in Hong Kong and Beijing: cities where USD and CNY have had a particular impact.
Central Hong Kong, outside Standard Chartered Bank, IFC.
Sundays are the one day per week when Hong Kong's domestic helpers have time off. They are paid low wages (around US$600/month) and employed on visas which do not allow them residency in the city. Most are from Indonesia and the Philippines, must leave family and children behind, and send the majority of their salaries home to their families.
Performance #2: Washington, DC, Summer 2016
500 USD$1s purchased from Chungking Mansions and various Hong Kong HSBC branches for the project