Please join us for the opening reception of “Guardian of the Spirits,” a solo exhibition of works by Holly Wong, on April 4th in the Curfman Gallery of the Lory Student Center. Food will be provided, and there will be talk and Q&A with the artist.
Holly Wong: Guardian of the Spirits
April 4, 2023 – May 26, 2023
Opening Reception: April 4, 4:30pm – 6:00pm
Ft. Collins, CO – Curfman Gallery, Lory Student Center at Colorado State University, 1101 Center Avenue Mall.
For this show, Holly presents fiber and drawing based installations, assemblages and works on paper to reclaim the female body and bear witness to the spirit. These works range in size from intimate pieces to larger immersive works. Holly uses a variety of fabric and flexible drawing surfaces as her medium, applying the skills passed down to her from her mother, a talented seamstress. Holly’s work memorializes her mother whom she lost to alcoholism and domestic violence.
The namesake work in the exhibition “Guardian of the Spirits” is a sewn patchwork of silk, organza, cellophane, and foil with transparencies that involve a kaleidoscope of images and memories. Her process is to create a transparent base which she then sews, cuts and sews back together again. Afterwards, she layers bloodlines or veins upon these surfaces using darker patterning so that it journeys through the metaphorical body of the work. This piece at once references the practice of cutting and starving oneself but also the power of mending and transforming.
Holly became attracted to working with light, reflective, transparent fabrics because it reminds her of the permeable separation between the living and the dead. In the series “Quilt Suspensions,” included in the exhibition, Holly uses a flat felled seam technique with transparent fabric. Holly combines ephemeral materials with LED strip lighting and diffusion film as a proxy for her mother’s spirit. The layers of pieced fabric are suspended over this light-spirit as a shroud or mourning cloth. Inspired by Chinese funeral customs, the quilt layers become burial blankets that are offered by the children of the deceased and layered upon their loved ones.
Traditional drawing is a parallel element in Holly’s work. “She” is an immersive installation rendered with colored pencil on hand cut drafting film. Created during the early days of the COVID pandemic lockdown, she focused her mind on pre-Christian spirituality. The intense patterning of “She” reflects a celebration of life and of the resistance to limitations and norms. It is also a prayer for revolt against the limiting notions of beauty and body size. Bright, rich, and excessive, these colors reflect her hunger to embrace life’s full potential.
A major throughline in Holly’s work is the wound or scar and the power of taking back the night by healing the scar. Creating works of beauty in brokenness is her highest form of resistance.
Holly Wong was born in North Miami Beach FLA. She was educated at the San Francisco Art Institute where she graduated with a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in New Genres. Holly has participated in over 80 exhibitions including group shows at the de Young Museum, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, and Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Art. She is represented by SLATE Contemporary Gallery in Oakland, CA, ELLIO Fine Art in Houston, TX, and is a member of A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. Holly lives and works in San Francisco, CA.
All works in the exhibition are provided courtesy of SLATE Contemporary Gallery, Oakland, CA.