August - September 2022
Wenting Li is an artist and illustrator working in Tkaronto/ Toronto. Her work seeks to visualize the ephemeral space where fantasy and myth intersect and extend our human experiences – migration, interconnection, the routines of the everyday. Currently interested in the mythology of the demonic and fantastic, and the repetitive yet iterative nature of being guided by the subconscious, her work tells stories by way of drawing and painting, ceramics, murals, and illustration.
Documentation courtesy of Alison Postma
The framing of the plumb bar as five open sections and its place at the entranceway to the gallery call to mind other kinds of openings: windows, doors, porches. Inviting a viewer into an analogous kind of space, fēnglíng is a series of 5 wind chime works taking visual cues from personal meditations on the imagery of a demon bestiary. Also meant to invite viewer engagement, faces are created both purposefully and subconsciously, as each person may read into the arrangement of shapes and forms. Sound can be created by running a hand down the piece, the jostling of a crowded room, the sudden inrush of an outside gust from up the stairs.
Wind chimes, traditionally hung at thresholds before someone or some entity passes inside a space, symbolize many things of interest. They may bestow luck, encourage fengshui, communicate with spirits. This last intersects with my interest in demons and beasts, which often appear in my work and fascinate me because of their aesthetic forms (to beguile you, to repulse), and as stand ins for what is difficult to acknowledge within ourselves and our world. Like wind chimes, they also can be conduits, messages, and passageways beyond.
Clay is a slow, iterative process which can feel like a collaboration between intention and chance. While the making of these forms was approached intuitively, by feeling shaped by a sense of shape and movement and arrangement – and perversity – clay also inserts its own system of demands. Kilns also can fire to their own whims, to results which may feel fated or cursed, yet likely have some explanation in the whims of temperature, science, the demands on the local electrical grid. It is a medium which lends itself to looking for messages, and a reminder that every small thing can be entangled in a system beyond itself. When it isn’t necessarily simple to trace a point of origin, when results, messages and images appear to arise spontaneously, perhaps this is what can be called magic.
— Wenting Li