“I’m always interested in our bodies as vessels, what we contain and what we cannot”.
– Julia Chiang
At New York’s Nicola Vassell Gallery, an exhibition entitled Salt On Our Skin, brings about someone who is most singular in her unique approach to art and craft – an intuitive kind of creativity that transcends the inner with the outer, a positive expression and vibrant continuity that is all on its own. Julia Chiang, a Brooklyn-based artist and wife to the famed artist KAWS, creates a myriad of profound style, color and design – shaped to bring the viewer into a world not seen before – a world of forms, shapes and perceptions. In presenting how art can be more than just an experience, Chiang shows us, amongst the various works shown throughout the gallery, that it can also be as meditative and bodily as it can be abstract and otherworldly. Born in Atlantic City New Jersey and obtaining a degree in studio art and art history from New York University, Chiang developed her interest in art while growing up in a traditionally Chinese family environment where hard work and
thrift was key. Though her parent were strict and known for not letting anything go to waste, the artist took these childhood experiences and incorporated a stern discipline of repetition and recycling into each of her many works. Using a meticulous process for creating each painting, drawing or sculpture, each work expands on its own, thus moving forward an active, organic life that is beyond the norm.
Expansive, colorful and eye catching, the work of Julia Chiang may be seen as
directly commercial or entirely artistic, depending on one’s own point of view. Nevertheless, it is a quite an experience for one to see them and to be fully engaged in the visual and emotional process. Each work has its own style, yet similar in its own way: the work, All the Sounds, 2022, is calm and meditative; orange, pink and yellow colors awash with space and movement, while waves of green amoebic-like cells flow outward and in different directions. Chiang’s connection with art has always been important during her upbringing and what she learned along the way, and by creating these pieces, it brought about an understanding of the vitality to that connection: one that is meditative and poetic, at the same time very adapting and comprehensive with these experiences.
Two works alongside the gallery entrance, Slipping and Slurping, 2022 and Put the Blanket On, 2022, are quite detail-oriented and most precise in its abstract form.
Each painting presents shapes that go from middle to end; blotches of bright or dark colors move within their own space, and as one looks closer into each of these works, one can see the heavenly lines, shadows and geometry that would serve as inspiration for the amoebic-like cells to move about in such frantic motion that is most natural and active.
Other works, such as That Time When, 2022 and Here it Comes, 2022, come off as most powerful in its stark depiction and stature. Each piece is both fascinating and mind boggling – the pink circle of the first work appears constellation-like in its imagery as the three patches of “cells” move about under what appears to be a speck-laden sky. The second is more like space / science fiction: a galaxy of shapes, rivers and space that are so profound yet serene. Particles of activity move above and around the boulder-like images, like stars flouting through the vast horizon, while the river of “cells” seem to flow up and downward in a mass continuum of force and energy.
In essence, Julia Chiang’s work in this one of a kind exhibition certainly reflects how the importance of uncertainty and chance can become more than just a risky endeavor; it takes shape and form in creating art that reflects the world around and within us; pushing boundaries that the eye can see and the hand can feel in all possible manners is a meditative process that can create a better understanding of the very thing inherent in all of us.
The exhibition will be on display till February 25th. Nicola Vassell Gallery is located on 138 10th Avenue in in Chelsea, New York City.