“ The ideal or the dream would be to arrive at a language that heals as much as it separates."

-Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation and Other Essays

 

 

Tiffany Wong’s paintings are places. They are landscapes of the invisible and instances of childhood memories and dreams. In her shapes, marks and textures, she forgoes any overtly recognizable imagery in her work, opting for a vocabulary that is descriptive and felt, letting her work retain their mystery, as described in Susan Sontag’s famous essay Against Interpretation. As her emotive work flows in a stream of consciousness, her work touches upon the traditions of abstract expressionism. 

 

Patience and intuition guide her process-driven art practice. Kitchen scraps and foraged plants boil for hours to form the natural inks alongside the natural pigments that she will be primarily using in her work.  Pools of natural inks and pigments dry overnight, balancing intentional marks with shapes that emerge through chance and happenstance. Sometimes, they converge with China ink, referencing Chinese ink wash paintings, as a nod to her cultural heritage. She makes shapes that resemble calabashes and broken bottles, and her surfaces shift from fluffy tufted fabric to raw canvas stained with thin watery layers of ink.  Wong's shapes reference opposing notions of emptiness and fullness, melancholy and exuberance which are recurring themes in her work. Through a growing language of shapes carefully painted in pastel-coloured gradients, quick mark-making, embroidered surfaces and tufted shapes, she presents the viewer with her lived experience and fanciful worlds.  Although Wong’s work is personal and confessional, she wishes for her paintings to transport others into moments of their own subjective experience. 

 

Wong’s most recent body of work is a series of paintings that is inspired by her own journey of motherhood and the experience of raising her two young children. The series named The Stories We Tell  was started soon after Wong saw Matthew Wong’s posthumous show Blue View in the Art Gallery of Ontario. Beyond the similarities of their lives, with the same last name, same age and cultural background she was deeply touched by his sad, whimsical blue paintings. She was familiar with the lonely, quiet nights that Matthew Wong was depicting and painting her new series was an act of darker postpartum emotions. With her days blending into nights, her joy and her deep blinding love for her two children, Tiffany Wong once again explores opposing emotions.  Light and darkness, joy and melancholy are iterated in a series of pastel coloured and dark blue paintings. She references her children, approaching her compositions playfully, trying to convey the world as it was first understood by her children. Wong has found new footing with this new series and as Wong and her children grow older, she knows that youth and motherhood will be recurring themes in her work for years to come. 

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