Harper’s is pleased to present Lunations, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by Lily Wong and Ian Faden. Harper’s Chelsea 534 is open to the public from 10am to 6pm Tuesday through Sunday.
The conversation between Wong and Faden is one among natural complements and counterparts. While the two artists each have their own idiosyncratic themes and styles, both make allusions to time and space outside of the ticking clock of late-stage capitalism and the heteronormative gaze. Here, time slows down and holds space for collective grief; it rewinds and interrogates the circumstances that brought us here, and questions where exactly we all think we are going so fast.
Wong’s palette is as mercurial as it is dreamy, inspired by the vivid and poetic images of Wong Kar-wai. The tones work in concert to lure the viewer into the works, in turn challenging perceptions of scale and the passage of time. Motifs such as the dripping veil repeat throughout her paintings alongside mysterious figures, hinting at elusive and uncanny narratives. Wong’s chimerical compositions reference Yoshitoshi’s print series, 100 Aspects of the Moon, which features lunar mythologies such as the East Asian folklore of the Jade Rabbit, who is said to be the companion of the moon Goddess Chang’e. Reinterpreting this ancient myth, Wong’s goddess fragments her perceived monolithic identity and questions the notions of belonging and self.
Charged with multi-dimensional movement, Faden’s work plays in a field of disembodiment, duplicity, and unrelenting exuberance in the face of threats from both visible and invisible death machines. Images of queer joy in Faden’s expansive desert are as much a comment on the parallels between the COVID pandemic and the AIDS epidemic as they are a defiant testimony of the waxing and waning realities of vulnerable communities. Referencing the title of Randy Shilts’s 1987 book, And the Band Played on: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, Faden’s figures also continue on, seemingly ill-fated again in the midst of unchanging circumstances.
Lunations leaves the viewer with a sense of interconnectedness that might feel a bit alarming or new—like surviving a bizarre, not-so-natural disaster, then abruptly returning to so-called normalcy.
Lily Wong (b. 1989, Seattle, WA) earned a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2011, and an MFA from CUNY Hunter College in 2020. Most recently, her work has been exhibited at Harper’s, New York, NY (2021 and 2020); Kapp Kapp, Philadelphia, PA (2021) and New York, NY (2020); Fredericks & Freiser, New York, NY (2021); Ramp Gallery, London, UK (2020); The Wunderwall, Antwerp, BE (2020); HVW8 Gallery, Berlin DE (2018); and Underdonk, Brooklyn, NY (2018). Wong currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Ian Faden (b. 1988, Boston, MA) earned a BFA from Pratt Institute in 2011, and was an artist-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center in 2015. His work has been exhibited at Harper’s, New York, NY (2021); 17 Essex, New York, NY (2020); Super Dutchess, New York, NY (2020); and Danese/Corey, New York, NY (2019). Faden lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.