Felix Xiao-Yu Wang, “Home Dialect”, oil on canvas, 60 x 48 x 1.5 “, 2020.
After performing a ceremonial burning of drawings meant for the dead, transforming paper and pastel into ash and smoke, Felix has found that her art practice is starting to tie into her cultural practice of ancestral worship. From the meditative experience that is painting, she creates psychological landscapes that explore spirituality, memory, and time. She uses collaged imagery in her paintings to represent the chaotic nature of memory and the transformation of entities.
The rainbows in her work refer to: 1) themes of transformation; 2) the maximalist Cantonese aesthetic she grew up with; and 3) how she has grown into her own disco ball brand of queerness. She collages together images of home, images of altars, with queer symbols that are not necessarily queer, as a way of exploring the many facets of identity, and how we ourselves may transform over the course of a lifetime.
As a child and grandchild of Chinese immigrants, she has been exploring the sense of time over a lifetime, and over the span of generations. Because important relatives in her life have passed, she feels like she has lost certain access points to her cultural heritage. Because she has lost her home language for the time being, and because English cannot be used to explain her feelings of nostalgia, she creates her own visual language by using collage, juxtaposing figuration with abstraction.
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