Let all your twisted and violent urges ensue this weekend at the opening of artist and good friend Kristen Liu-Wong’s new solo exhibition, “Conflict/Resolution,” at Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery. Kristen’s new series of work is centered around her usual mysteriously complex and threatening female characters, however throughout the fourteen new pieces she created specifically for the show, we see a deeper exploration of these women’s emotional range.
“A lot of my pieces earlier this year and last year were focused on their sexuality, their pleasure and desires,” says Kristen of the new collection of work. “These pieces are centered around more emotional issues like grief, fear, resentment, aggression, guilt, moral ambiguity, and mortality.”
We spoke to Kristen briefly before her show this Saturday, about cranking out her biggest body of work to date, laser guns over daggers, and the evolution of her seductively wicked female subjects.
Tell me a little about the underlying theme of conflict and resolution in this series of work. How did you decide this theme would carry the series?
These pieces center around the idea of aggression and the resulting emotional and physical chaos that happens when we act upon our more violent urges. In a way I tried to use making these pieces as a sort of way to find a resolution with the realities of my own shortcomings, my own petty impulses. Everyone has these conflicting sides to their nature and the only way we can learn from them is by first acknowledging their existence. I used battles and the idea of war as a metaphor for this this theme.
Do you prefer daggers or laser guns when dealing with conflict in your own life?
Haha I prefer talking things out in real life, but I would love to own a laser gun.
How do you think your characters have developed lately, and specifically in this series?
Their emotional range has been explored more thoroughly. A lot of my pieces earlier this year and last year were focused on their sexuality, their pleasure and desires. These pieces are centered around more emotional issues like grief, fear, resentment, aggression, guilt, moral ambiguity, and mortality. Of course their sexuality is still there, but it isn’t the focus of most of these pieces.
Why is it important for you to maintain having women at the center of your work?
I think it’s important because I’m a woman and I think our voices need to be represented! Of course I may eventually use more male figures in my work (which I did before) or I may even go abstract- I can’t say because I expect my work to change as I do. But right now I feel like a female-centric universe is one that I want to explore.
What’s the most twisted scene you painted in this series?
I guess the painting “Bringing A Hand to a Knife Fight” would be it haha. I was really happy with how this one came out and I had a great time painting the handprint on the redheaded girl’s ass! I also liked depicting the dominant figure so powerfully, breasts exposed with a black latex thong covered in phallic spikes suggestively pointed towards the ass of the redhead.
How the hell did you pump out 14 pieces for this show in six months?
Redbull, weed and an intense fear of failure helped drive me through countless 5 am nights. It was rough and until the very end I wasn’t sure if I could actually do it but I am so glad I pushed myself.
“Conflict/Resolution opens Saturday, September 23rd at Corey Helford Gallery from 7-11pm. The show runs until October 21. For more from Kristen follow her on Instagram and watch the video we made with her earlier this year below.