For Iris (Rijksakademie)  
2019
stoneware, glaze, luster, fiberglass, acyrlic, paint, wood, polyester resin, thread, charcoal on paper



Sculptures referencing ‘exotic beasts’ assume roles in a scenario of distinct power dynamics and metonymic relations. In many of Pei-Hsuan Wang’s recent projects, the appearance of beasts indicates entryways into the abstract realm of identity formation dear to the artist and her biracial niece Iris. Not unlike individuals with POC and white heritages, these beasts’ desirable representations are appropriated as surrogates for assuaged authenticity and pacified exoticism in many cultures including the artist’s own. In this work, they become decipherable power objects, guardians, and portals to inner dimensions brought forth by the physical world.


The cat forms are built in ceramics and replicated in acrylic via a casting process, and both the fired original and the cast ‘shadow’ piece are displayed. A female head sculpted from memory morphs the artist’s East Asian features with Iris’ Caucasian features. A miniature organic shape alludes to the pregnant body; and a charcoal drawing imitates an absent snapshot capturing a tender moment in which the artist caresses the raw clay cat as if it were a child’s face.


This work has taken on new lives in For Iris and I’ve Left My Body to Occupy Others.



Related work:

Dearly Beloved
Miniatures
Self Portrait As Iris As an Idea

When Mountlake Terrace Dreams
You Are My Sunshine












Work list:

Cat I
stoneware, glaze
24 x 17 x 43 in

Cat II
fiberglass, acrylic, paint
25 x 19 x 45 in

Bird
stoneware, glaze, luster
14 x 21 x 40 in

Self Portrait As Iris As an Idea
stoneware, glaze
9 x 11 x 17 in

Swollen
fiberglass, polyester resin, thread
5 x 3 x 2 in

Tenderly
charcoal on paper
32 x 24 in