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Patricia Sweetlow Gallery, San Francisco

Exhibition Dates: September 7 – October 19, 2019
Crafted Illusions: Victoria Jang  Jacqueline Surdell  Lien Truong
Reception: Saturday, September 7th,  4 to 6:30 pm

Saturday, September 7th at 3pmPlease join us for a conversation with Lien Truong, Jacqueline Surdell & Victoria Jang, moderated by Gail Wight. Gail Wight is Associate Professor in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University, where she focuses on experimental media.

PSG is pleased to present Victoria Jang, Jacqueline Surdell, and Lien Truong in Crafted Illusions. The artists in the exhibition investigate the fabrication of authority, questioning historical and contemporary reliability in authorship, aesthetics, moral imperatives and allegiances. The exhibition opens Saturday, September 7th and continues through October 19th. The reception is Saturday, September 7th from 4 to 6:30 pm. At 3:00 pm Stanford Associate Professor Gail Wight will lead the artists in conversation. Everyone is welcome; come early, as seating is limited.


Fragmenting historic paintings, art, film and the gaming industry, Lien Truong’s mixed media paintings inform “our collective notions of heritage.”

The narrative of Role Playing Games, with virtual landscapes reminiscent of mythologized American manifest destiny, coupled with default white male avatars, become the backdrop and critique of Lien Truong’s paintings. Researching and reading RPG theory from a feminist, queer and multiracial perspective, Truong weaponizes her paintings to challenge the perpetuated culture of violence, inverting the romanticized RPG space and its domination of women and POC.

Aware of the religious and cultural ideologies associated with painting, her work tests the hybridity and historic hierarchies of painting techniques, materials and philosophies from the “West” and Asia. She subverts color and values, staging a background layered with singed panels of painted floating silk and carefully blended gestures of oil paint, amidst interpretations of historic textile patterns and hegemonic iconography. Creating a powerful fictive of female authority, with significant icons such as Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink, the first non-white, and first Asian American woman elected to congress, and Anna May Wong, an exoticized and eroticized silent-era film star, Truong presents female protagonists who become forceful real-life counterpoints to the fictionalized bravado of the RPG.

Lien Truong is an Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She graduated with a BFA in 1999 from Humboldt State University and an MFA from Mills College, Oakland in 2001. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery; North Carolina Museum of Art; Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Texas; the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Moscow; Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA; Nha San Collective, Hanoi, Vietnam; Art Hong Kong; S.E.A. Focus, Singapore; and Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA. She is the recipient of several awards including the Whitton Fellowship, and fellowships from the Institute for the Arts & Humanities and the North Carolina Arts Council. Residencies include the Oakland Museum of California and the Marble House Project, Vermont. Her work has been reviewed in ArtAsiaPacific; The San Francisco Chronicle; Houston Chronicle; Oakland Tribune; New American Paintings; and ART iT Japan. Her work is in several public collections including the Linda Lee Alter Collection of Art by Women at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (USA), DC Collection (Disaphol Chansiri, Chiang Mai, Thailand), North Carolina Museum of Art (USA), the Weatherspoon Art Museum (USA), and the Post Vidai and  Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Vietnam).

Nocturne – performance at night, are Victoria Jang’s new ceramic sculpture, layered with multiple narratives, composed in a period of darkness. With a vocabulary of decorative ornamental forms, Jang’s sculptures are a critical inquiry of colonial ideology expressed in ethnology, stigmatizing indigenous cultural legacies.

First-generation Korean-American, Victoria Jang takes aim at assumptions of Western European culture in its understanding and interpreting of non-Western cultures as inferior, while historically appropriating traditions, rituals and objects for aesthetic and cultural exploitation. Her ceramic vessels become microcosms of deconstructed colonial moral and aesthetic principles. Focusing on Korean traditions found in native craft and materials, Jang creates a musical panoply of abstracted geometric and natural forms that she can use and reassemble. Her ceramic sculptures are layered with these shapes – stemmed flower forms, ritual objects found in Korean Shamanism, surface aspects of urban erosion and decay – a fused assemblage of synthesized symbolist ornaments.

Victoria Jang received her BFA in ceramics and sculpture from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2010. She moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and received her MFA in ceramics at the California College of the Arts in 2014. Jang received a Headlands Graduate Fellowship Award, a Murphy Award and Cadogan Scholarship, and was the featured artist for the 2014 APAture exhibition at Kearny Street Workshop. She recently received the 2017–18 AICAD Post-Graduate Teaching Fellowship at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where she continues to teach, and the Retired Professors Award by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. She was a Visiting Artist in Residence for 2015-2016 at the University of California, Berkeley.

Using a hybrid of macramé and weaving, Jacqueline Surdell’s studio practice demands the physical strength of a trained athlete. Her multi-dimensional tapestries bring to mind abstracted landscape paintings – born of body, and blemished with stains of labor. Her acumen in expressing both beauty and raw complexity is reflected in monumental volumes of cascading, disfigured, twisted rope. Defying the ‘60s approach to a mannered macramé of decorative or functional value, Surdell instead follows in the footsteps of early groundbreaking fiber artists, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Françoise Grossen, and Sheila Hicks.

Close familial memories contributed to Surdell’s complex psychological terrain between body, athleticism, making, sanctuary and spirit. From childhood through college, Surdell was a competitive volleyball player, accustomed to pushing the limits of physical endurance. She was recruited by Occidental College in Los Angeles, whose volleyball program started four years after passage of Title 9, legislation seeking gender equity in school sports. Her experience in sports provided Surdell with skill and strength – and her studio practice is an extension of those experiences. Weaving her wall sculptures demands full body action, using her body as a weaving shuttle, moving in and out of the warp, knotting and pulling pounds and yards of rope on self-made mural-sized looms. The warp is looped over steel weightlifting bars of various lengths. Although the material is fiber, Surdell’s approach is painterly – manipulating her knotted layers, reducing material to open the structure, draping to create volume and texture, painting the surface with Paracord and acrylic.

Jacqueline Surdell was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1993. She received her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017, and a BFA from Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA. An emerging artist, her work has been exhibited in New Orleans, Montreal, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

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