Microcosms of Mourning
"In my hands, the words on the paper collapsed into a feeling, the strings became lifelines connecting the present to memories, the living to the dead, light to dark matter, the individual to the collective, through a multidimensional labyrinth of spacetime."
Kelly Wang’s current series (2020-2021) creates imagery of scholar’s rocks and topographical maps using newspapers she saved while her father was hospitalized for COVID-19 in April 2020 and passed away as a result of the virus. While mourning the loss of her father, she sought subjects that appeared to be stable but had undergone significant transformation. Integrating form, texture, and the ephemeral, her work questions whether scholar’s rocks and maps attain their shape due to a gradual natural process or if they are actually bruised over time by both natural and artificial interference. Can we ever know which type of interference happened when? If unknowable, is "healing" an outcome to be pursued, or is it even possible? Do these sculptural and massive "objects" experience suffering and exist beyond our human contemplation of them from the outside, or from living within them? While considering these questions, Wang's series also serves as a metaphor for the impact of trauma on the individual and collective subconscious. Cutting newspaper into strips, which she twists into strands to build these semi-sculptural forms that hover between two and three dimensions, her process-driven creative practice investigates the hidden networks of pain and the marginalizing experience of grief in objects and places.