I believe that living is an act of rebalancing, and I am drawn to the tension inherent in the process: the tenuous balance between natural and man-made; the progression of certainties, constructed on passing cultural interpretations; the labor for self-understanding, existing as a woman habituated to the idea that others know better; the compromise between dignity (self-respect) and humor (self-deprecation).
Life informs art and my inspiration comes from life in an urban environment. Through representational painting and life-size installation, I isolate or mis-contextualize commonplace objects as an exercise in questioning the values associated with them. I use ubiquitous yet universally devalued as subject matter – in this case, mothers. In combining decorative motifs, female anatomical drawings, and combustion engine diagrams, I can better contemplate gender norms, domesticity, medicine, and the politics surrounding the female body.
I want my work to evoke a mixture of awe and apprehension – to be wonderfully disturbing. I hope the work inspires no-so-serious conversation about human complexities and imperfections, conveys my hopefulness that beauty will emerge from broken ideologies, and my belief that brokenness is an opportunity to rebuild.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
JoEllen Wang explores themes of shelter and domesticity. She makes representational paintings and life-size installations of commonplace objects to conjure absent subjects that evade binary classifications. JoEllen earned a B.Arch from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. She has participated in exhibitions in the Pacific Northwest: at SOIL and Gallery 110, both artist-run spaces, and Ghost Gallery. In 2020, JoEllen had her first solo exhibition, #tarplife, at Gallery 110, and was featured by Danielle Krysa on the contemporary art website, The Jealous Curator. She has work in Seattle’s Permanent Portable Works Collection and was a 2021 Rockland Woods Artist-in-Residence. JoEllen currently lives and works in Seattle. When not making and showing work, she serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for Gallery 110 and volunteers with the Low-Income Housing Institute building emergency housing.
© JoEllen Wang