LILY WONG

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Q: Tell us about your practice

A: I have a background in printmaking, with a concentration in lithography. I haven’t done any printmaking in a long while, but I think its influence definitely comes out in the way I create.

Storytelling is important to my work! The narratives I create center around a reimagination of personhood at the moment it becomes undone. The subjects probe at the ways literal and metaphorical fracturings of the self influence the body’s relationship to intimacy, desire, and structures of power.

I like to weave in elements of fantasy and drama as a way to offer glimpses into a constantly fluctuating emotional landscape.

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Q: The visual language you employ with your figures is quite unique both in their postures and proportions—can you tell us a little about how you arrived at that?

A: I’ve been pulling from the vernacular of cartooning and illustration, which often involves a lot of bodily exaggeration. I’m interested in the way that type of hyperbolic treatment can redirect representational images towards a pliable, psychological interiority. My work is rooted in navigating a paradoxical experience marked by hypervisibility and erasure. Although I’ve always worked figuratively, in the past few years attempting to articulate that tension has resulted in the forms morphing, swelling, and expanding in all sorts of ways.

While their touches are gentle, I like to think of the figures’ balloon-like bodies as overstuffed containers that are on the edge of bursting and potential destruction. I want there to be an articulation of the disconnect between external presentation and private experience.

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Q: What has been inspiring you lately?

A: Right now I’m very invested in the color yellow and it’s been manifesting in a lot of my work. I’ve been looking at the works of Martin Wong, Patty Chang, the Chicago Imagists... still watching cartoons too. And I’m listening to an audiobook version of Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong. I’ve read it before too but it’s nice to have that on while I’m in the studio.

I also listen to a lot of podcasts and at the moment I’m listening to a few about secrets. I’ve been thinking about how keeping even the smallest, most inconsequential bit of information suppressed and hidden can completely consume a person's sense of self.

COLLECTOR'S QUOTE

"There’s a space between dream and nightmare, strength and fragility, gaze and voyeurism. Lily’s work lives at the intersection of all these conflicting concepts -and many more, visual expression of how the violence of simply being seen and perceived can collide with one’s complex identity and core existence. Using “cuteness” as a weapon and entry point, she explores representation at the same time as she expresses the impact of bias in a deeply moving way."

ANNE-LAURE LEMAITRE

The Here and There Collective, LLC is a New York limited-liability company operating through a fiscal sponsorship with Players Philanthropy Fund, a Maryland charitable trust recognized by IRS as a tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Federal Tax ID: 27-6601178). Contributions to The Here and There Collective are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.