Harman Projects is pleased to present Strange Pain, a solo exhibition by artist Felicia Chiao. This will be the artist’s first solo presentation in New York City. Taking the familiar and skewing it in surreal ways, Felicia Chiao illustrates painful human emotion by creating visual representations of feelings that can usually only be experienced. Whether it be a room with no windows or the dark bulbous personification of inner struggle, the “Strange Pain” referenced throughout the exhibition is evident.
Chiao’s autobiographical work chooses to focus on vulnerable aspects of what it means to be human. She creates worlds in which our fear, anxiety and depression appear as physical as they feel. Given this new physical form, they are illustrated as amorphous blobs sitting on our laps pinning us down under the weight of depression, as smothering anxiety looming around the next corner, and as a pit in our stomach when we can not find the motivation to be productive as seen in Lamp Light, pictured above.
Loneliness persists throughout this body of work, the artist uses singular lights shone on her figures during night scenes and shadows cast during day scenes to essentially isolate them from the rest of their world. Others are seen gazing through their window at an outside world that has become foreign to them, or struggling to find the will to eat breakfast, these solitary beings find themselves alone with their thoughts.
Felicia Chiao states, “Strange Pain is about the small, undefinable pains you sometimes feel when nothing is specifically wrong. It can come as that ache you feel from a sad song or that fleeting wave of despair that comes over you while waiting for water to boil. It can be the tightness in your chest before a social event or that vague sense of guilt you sometimes get, even though you’ve done nothing wrong. Strange pains are hard to put into words but this body of work does its best to explore them.”
Despite the ever present feelings of despair, there are also beautiful moments that shine through and offer an optimistic outlook. A tree rising out of a building toward the sun, lushly blooming flowers, and refrigerator magnets reminding the viewer that “Its ok”.
The opening is Saturday, December 17th at 210 Rivington Street, New York, NY, for the release of a new print as well as a signing of Felicia Chiao’s book, Sketchbook 6 from 6pm to 7pm followed by the opening reception of Strange Pain from 7pm to 8pm.