Saturday, August 27, 2011

STRANGE STORIES FROM A CHINESE STUDIO


JESSICA JANG

SEPTEMBER 3-25 2011

DR. SUN YAT-SEN CLASSICAL CHINESE GARDEN

The garden is a man-made space where we, as humans, negotiate our relationship with nature, our fascination with observation, and our desire to influence the behaviour of our environment. A garden itself is a minute representation of the natural world. The Ming Dynasty garden exemplifies the complexity between physical and spiritual connectivity to nature. The sensitive equilibrium between tangibility and ethereality is what generates ongoing interest in the classical Chinese garden.

This exhibition investigates the space within the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Garden through multiple perspectives- the historical, the contemporary, and the imagined. Each piece in the exhibit acts as a viewfinder revealing the microcosmic as well as the macrocosmic nature of this garden. This series of works is inspired by the folklore of P'u Sung-Ling, Chinese myths, documented occurrences during the construction of the Dr. Sun Yat Sen garden, and observational drawings.

The title of this exhibition is borrowed from the book of the same name by the Qing dynasty writer, P'u Sung-Ling. The use of the title denotes the myth that artists create for themselves within the realm of the studio and the inexplicable process of art-making. The self-reflexivity of the title also refers to the series being created within an historic block of Chinatown, a few steps away from the garden itself.

My hope is that the viewer will discover new entry ways into exploring the functionality of the garden after observing these drawings and paintings.


Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
578 Carrall Street
Vancouver, BC
Canada

Opening Times:
7 days a week
10am-6pm

*By donation after 5.30pm*

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

These Days


Beware folks, Jessica Jang is up to stuff. After a nutzoid July of full time work in addition to 20-30 hours per week in the studio, I've escaped to Europe once again. I spent my first week in London and now I'm in the Czech Republic chillaxin'. I'm still working on a few post-studio activities, working on one more drawing, and making arrangements for my solo exhibition in September, but it's mostly been casual times. Cooking, baking, hiking, picking fruit, hanging out with fun people and walking animals have filled up my days.


I made some finger sized hot dogs before I left Vancouver, as peace offerings.


This is a work in progress. In my packing haze, I made the doofus move of bringing four HB pencils with me. Argh. I'm a 6B/8B kind of kid, so when I finally buckled down to work, this made procrastinating much more desirable.


Turtle walking.

Blurry Teasers



Here are some poorly documented snippets from my new series, Strange Stories From a Chinese Studio. COMING TO YOU SEPTEMBER 2011! Top image courtesy of an anonymous child.









Friday, July 15, 2011

Studies

Creating detailed studies for final pieces is not typical of my way of doing things; but this project deadline makes me nervous, as there is little space for error or waste. So, here are some gouache prelims.


The one with the dead foxes comes from the story, The Trader's Son, by P'u Sung-Ling. A ghost, in many Asian tales, comes in the form of a fox. The fox often disguises itself as a human. In this tale, foxes terrorize a woman in the night, which also alters her waking life. In the end (story spoiler coming up...) they drink poisoned wine and are found dead behind a bush.


This one is just an experiment. It's sort of a Chinese version of Sir John Everett Millais's Ophelia- an all time favourite of many, including myself. Many people, probably don't know me as a painter of figures, but that was my primary interest for a big chunk of art school. I don't know how I feel about this gouache piece. I will not include this or anything like it in the exhibition, but I thought I'd post it anyway.



This is a taihu rock. I want to make the face of the rock more spooky- in a Scooby-Doo kinda way.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Studio Life



Studio time- power up! I've got a special project creeping up and my pal, Tara Carmichael, has generously offered her studio to me for this month. Tara's an awesome artist, arts educator, Mom, and an all round, super fun person. Thank you Tara!

I thought I'd attempt to document my process (aka painful struggle) as I get this new series completed by the end of July. The exhibition will be in September, but I'm jetting back to the UK and Czech Republic for the entire month of August, so I gotta hustle.

Here are some pictures of things around me and examples of sketches that will not necessarily make sense to anyone but myself.



Tara's deep sea painting and the resident octopus.






Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

From the Desk of a Non-Genius

I am struggling with ideas for something important. Procrastination and self-deprecation are integral parts of processing the struggle.


Inside the non-genius's desk.


On top of the non-genius's desk.


A flower near the desk that does not serve as a muse. Unamused?


The non-genius's dog, awoken from slumber.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sketchies


Fancy fart cloud.
Girls dressed up for Mardi Gras circa 1920.
Penguin with camera.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Many Strange Leaves for the Powell Street Festival Society


Many Strange Leaves
Gouache on Paper
6"x8 1/4"
2011

Happy Asian Heritage month! This piece has been made specifically for this year's Powell Street Festival Society KANPAI Auction Fundraiser, which is happening June 15th. Even though I am not Japanese, this society is near and dear to me. The group of people who run the annual festival, celebrating Japanese culture and heritage, are so warm and lovely. They've made my past volunteer experiences so positive. The involvement and inclusion of all members of the community show a real respect for the diversity of people in Vancouver, particularly in the Downtown Eastside. Please support one of Vancouver's most awesome free festivals by picking up a ticket for the auction. There are lots of super nice items to bid on.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Idée Fixe no. 5 (In Progress)



16 Ghosts in the Dark (In progress)
Gouache
8.25"x7.25"

Skin and Grass



Gouache
4"x6.75"

Monday, April 11, 2011

Petition for Ai Weiwei's Release

Please take a moment to sign a petition for Ai Weiwei's release on Change.org. This was started by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and will only take a minute at the most.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ai Weiwei





Last year, I found myself in Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, after friends urgently suggested I see the Ai Weiwei exhibit. Turbine Hall is a gigantic space and features some of the most monumental and gorgeous works ever created. I have seen thousands of boxes stacked up by Rachel Whiteread, Miroslaw Balka's huge metal box of darkness, and seventy amateur dancers run back and forth for a Michael Clark piece. The capacity of the space is perfect for voluminous, powerful works that allow viewers to access art in a participatory way. When I entered the space to find 100 million hand-made porcelain sunflower seeds, I was speechless. The corners of the room were completely sealed off and viewers were only allowed to walk around the perimeter of the room. This wasn't the original intention of the piece, but the tranquility and the vastness was overwhelming.




This piece, simply titled, Sunflower Seeds, was intended for viewers to walk on. Despite the direct physical interaction with the piece, viewers are not supposed to take any of the seeds- just to experience the sensation of being surrounded by these little porcelain creations. It was only realized later that the porcelain dust being kicked up in the air was a health and safety hazard, so the seeds were raked up into a neat square on the floor and cordoned off to viewers. This really transformed the intentionality of the piece, but it did not take away from the absolute beauty.



This installation is accompanied by a short documentary about the making of the piece. Footage includes interviews with Ai Weiwei, the people from the city of Jingdezhen, and production of the work. Jindezhen is famous throughout Chinese history for the production of porcelain objects, but has since hit hard times financially. The project was a way for the artist to help revive the economy of the community to some degree. The film explains this all very nicely. I actually found it very moving.

I had heard of Ai Weiwei before seeing this piece, but because I had never seen his work in person, I was not immediately impacted in a personal way. When I experienced Sunflower Seeds I was really touched. I was struck by a very strong, emotional connection I seldom receive from art. I believe art has the possibility to inspire and change people to a certain extent, but it is often difficult for me to connect with work that is forward in it's political and social stance. Often times I find "political" artwork to sermonize or to function in a very exclusive and dry way that does not extend to the greater public. Ai's work definitely has an assertive political component, but I feel that he created a piece that functions very successfully on that axis. The humanistic aspect of this piece is what I identify with the most.




When I heard in the early morning of April 3rd, about Ai being detained at the airport by Chinese police, I felt incredibly upset. I have distant relatives who live in China and I have visited many different regions of the country several times in the past. The modern history of China is convoluted. It is hard for me to briefly explain my personal relationship with the land, people, and heritage. There is so much richness and magnificence, but a simultaneous grotesque quality to the way in which the government functions and some of the popular values shared. Ai has definitely been publicly critical of his homeland and I am not surprised that he once again had a run in with local officials, however China must also see him as being an asset to the country.

It is clear through a lot of Ai's pieces and the basis for his work, that Chinese heritage is very important to him. It's from this perspective for which his work is able to exist. He may not be complimentary about the politics of China, but he should still be seen as an ambassador of the culture and the land. He could easily have picked up and left his homeland for a democratic society, where he can more freely speak his mind and make his work without fearing censorship or harassment, but he hasn't. I understand that he was planning to divide his time between a studio-in-progress in Berlin and his home in Beijing, but there seemed to be very little objective to remove himself permanently from China. He values the Chinese people and Chinese culture. He is one of the most celebrated Chinese figures in the art world, so China really should just give him a break. I can understand the government's fear of an uprising, however they cannot pretend that change will not come one day. As Fred Hampton has once said, "You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail a revolution."


Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.



China has a history of being a very controlling and violent regime, but I doubt serious harm will be inflicted upon Ai Weiwei in detention. There are too many eyes on China at this point and I'm sure he's a "cash cow" of sorts for many influential art affiliates in China. I do not see the spirit of Ai to be one that will succumb to authority. I just hope that he will be released quickly to a body of people, stronger and greater in number and spirit.

Artist solidarity.


Tate Modern 12 October 2010 – 2 May 2011

This Great Society, Issue 18: Sleep




Happy April! I contributed a few pieces to this month's issue of This Great Society. This Great Society is a "by peers, for peers" online creative journal. April's theme is sleep.



I thought info about each of my pieces would be posted, but it's not included, so if you are wondering about the medium, the first two are oil on paper and the other five are oil on vellum. The first four were created 2010 in London and the last three were created this year.



Please take a peek and snoop around past issues, such as this one by my good friend Zadie Xa- one of the hardest working people making art today. More of her amazing work can be found at zadiexa.com.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Logs and Dogs



Thanks daylight savings. I no longer need to negotiate between my mundane, indoor obligations in the middle of the day for a hit of sunshine and fresh air. By the time dinner is over, I can still go out for a walk by the water and watch the sun slowly dip into the sea. Clouds turn wild colours, islands loom in the distance.






I went down the other evening in attempt to sketch some drift wood and sun-bleached roots. Some super happy dogs ran onto the beach and I watched them for a long time. I recorded their crazy squiggling in the water and sand until it got dark.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sketches of an Invalid



Travis has ruptured a ligament in his hind leg. He won't be able to go for walks at the park or beach for the next few months, which will probably lead to one depressed dog. Poor guy. He's been hopping back and forth around the living room moaning. Watching him makes me so sad. Since he hasn't been moving around too much I thought I'd do a few quick sketches of him resting.





Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Western Front's 38th Annual Gala Dinner and Art Auction



The Western Front
is an artist-run-centre in Vancouver that provides a venue for various local and international artists to showcase experimental, performance, and media art forms. This organization is not just relegated to being an exhibition space, but it functions as a space for international artist residencies, supports multi-disciplinary formats, and publishes Front arts journal. It's pretty much a really cool and important institution within Vancouver's arts and culture scene.



The Western Front will be hosting it's 38th Annual Gala Dinner and Arts Auction on March 12th this year! For those of you who are not doing much on that fair March evening, you should definitely go and support our beloved Western Front and BC arts!

I will be contributing to the Front's art auction with my piece Ghost Mountain. It's an original drawing, acrylic medium and ink on archival paper, 13"x11". It will be framed and it is personally one of my favourite drawings, but it's time to find a home for it. Perhaps even your home.

Western Front Society
303 East 8th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada