One of the most common questions posed to me about this upcoming show is: “How did you find this artist?” Perhaps this speaks to curiosity about how I decided to show an artist from New York following our inaugural artist from Chicago. So, how did I find her? The answer is less interesting than why I found her. For the sake of context though, I found her in a rather effortless way… I saw her work online through the art/music site Ghostly International, for whom local designer Michael Cina also produces work. Enthralled by the delicate lines of her drawings and the magic of her digital animations, I asked him for an introduction to Sougwen via email. We followed up with a meeting over coffee the next time I was in New York. Despite my better judgment that I’ll lose you in a discussion about synchronicity and the undeniable power of the universe… I’m just going to go ahead and put it out there… perhaps she found me.
The experience of curating and building Public Functionary has been for all of us involved; exhausting and challenging. It is a bigger endeavor than any of us have ever taken on despite our collective histories as creative entrepreneurs. We are held accountable for every decision we make and every new obstacle requires teamwork and patience, along with long hours and stressful weeks. Just as our brains go into problem-solving overdrive, suddenly we find ourselves here: about to open a new exhibit and not doubting one bit why we do this.
Sougwen Chung is exactly what we needed to energize and remember why it is that we are here. She’s a dedicated and disciplined artist, and the thoughtfulness and practice that she applies to her art reminds me that artists create so that for a moment…we can stop to think and feel something beyond ourselves. It is not by chance that this internationally exhibited and well-regarded multi-media artist is finally doing her first official solo gallery show, at Public Functionary… a space with barely a year under the belt. Sometimes things just happen. Art doesn’t have to be serious or calculated and some things are better without an elaborate explanation.
Sougwen Chung is showing at Public Functionary because it just feels right. Instinct and inspiration. Sounds like art to me.
[THE ARTIST] Sougwen Chung (New York)
“Like the art she creates, Sougwen Chung is a product of tension. Culturally, she has been influenced by nearly every corner of the globe; born in Canada, raised in China, studying at a prestigious school in Sweden and now happily based in Brooklyn. With a background in graphite drawing and interactive design, she uses the tension between the traditional and the digital to create works that are turbulent and full of movement, but simultaneously serene—a futuristic landscape that seems somehow familiar, but with something sinister rippling quietly under the surface. “ –Sinead Stubbins, Faint Magazine
Sougwen Chung is a Chinese-Canadian interdisciplinary artist based in New York. She has a BFA in graphic design and a diploma in Interactive Art from Hyper Island in Sweden. Her interdisciplinary process spans drawing, video, animation, 3d, sound and installation. An internationally exhibited artist, her work has been shown at The Art Directors Club in New York, NY, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Geneva, Switzerland, amongst others. Her work has been featured in The New Yorker, Dazed and Confused, and Creators Project, and her client list includes brands Chanel, Jagermeister, Nike, and musicians Tom Waits, Sepalcure, and Ghostly International.
[DOCUMENTATION] The Exhibition
Chiaro / Oscuro, Chung’s first solo gallery exhibition, celebrates the interplay of light and dark, the tangible and intangible, the old and new. The exhibition examines more than 30 works including a large scale installation to provide a retrospective style look at 4 essential elements of her process: traditional drawing technique, digital reproduction, video animation and projection mapping. Her work is a hybrid of traditional art and the immersive possibilities of new technologies. She works across print, digital and environmental mediums, aiming to explore contrasts; the intuitive and the technical, form and function, material and immaterial. The exhibit is titled as a contemporary interpretation of “Chiaroscuro”, a term more commonly associated with 17th century painting, that is as hand-made as it is digitally enabled.
[DOCUMENTATION] The Process/ Install
For full photo documentation of the installation process: CLICK HERE.
Sougwen’s exhibit was incredibly challenging due to the heavy use of technology. Sougwen spent 1 week in Minneapolis working on the projection mapped installation, while the rest of the PF crew spent the week transforming the gallery into a muted black and white backdrop, with fabric panels to divide the 4 areas of her work: video, projection, drawing and print. Special thanks to Ruehling Associates for their generous support to provide us with high lumen count projectors, making this installation exceptionally beautiful. Also, a special thanks to The Lab for the high-quality digital prints and framing.