“The process of painting is a solitary journey,” says Wendy Duong, who lures viewers down a psychological rabbit hole with hot pink flowers and glittering gemstone eyes. Comparing her narrative paintings to “pages in a journal,” Wendy illustrates the only conversation she can’t escape: the one she has with herself.
“I use painting as a form of a diary entry, observing and confessing the absurdities of […] life events in a dramatic manner to heighten the mundane,” the Vietnamese American artist says. “I am trying to express an inner monologue that is an emotionally heightened version of reality.” Encouraged by her mentors to write, Wendy kickstarts the creative process by putting pen to paper, eventually translating her journal entries into semi-abstract paintings that capture the messy chatter of an internal monologue.
Bathed in roses and magentas, Wendy’s work seduces while it scratches, barbed with thorny flowers, bruised purples, and come-hither eyes that shine through the dark. Stranded in distorted landscapes, the figures in Wendy’s work writhe, scream, and kiss, caught in absurd caricatures of themselves. The story in “Crystal” takes a dark turn when two bees, enticed by the smell of those thorny flowers, stumble on a trap, their bodies left limp on the pointed murder weapons. While “Crystal” illustrates a dour journal entry, “The Kiss” invites viewers into a loving one: two blobby figures share an intimate moment, their desire illuminating them from within.
Opening her visual diary to the world, Wendy turns a solitary act inside out, spilling her guts, brains, and heart across the canvas in violent shades of pink. Every now and then, her work reminds us, we can find solidarity in sharing our most chaotic thoughts with the equally messy world around us.
“I am trying to express an inner monologue that is an emotionally heightened version of reality.” — Wendy Duong
All photos published with permission of the artist(s).
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