JULIE CHANG

My work investigates how identities are constructed and how (mis)understandings of both self and other might be resisted, subverted, and reimagined. Inspired by diverse sources – from wallpaper to weavings to genetic mutations and systems theory – my work utilizes a visual vocabulary that juxtaposes differing perspectives to provoke conversations about race, class, gender, and cultural commodification.

 

Intricately layered and woven images result from a meditative practice and deep devotion to craft. Traditional pattern work might be manipulated to abstraction or collide and mingle alongside palm trees, UFOs, antidepressants, prostitutes, and oil derricks.  In my work such recognizable forms are freed from narrative and inserted into new contexts, so the familiar becomes unfamiliar, open to multiple interpretations and meanings. 

 

In approaching public works, I employ patterns to bring intimate, private, domestic shapes into public view, disrupting normal habits of seeing. Projects are context specific, influenced by the community and sites for which the work is designed and activated by the light and bodies that move through the installations. At times, forms shift in space, rising up walls and around corners and over sidewalks and through buildings, offering moments of surprise and delight for viewers going about their daily lives. 

 

Throughout, symbols migrate and cross boundaries, transformed by encounters with other forms. Arrivals, foreignness, dislocation, the struggle to feel at home in one’s own body – I use line and color to make visible hidden histories and the longing, anxiety, fear, alienation, and desire for belonging I find there. The formal systems I create suggest the invented structures in which we operate – rules, constraints, and possibilities made visible and material. 

 

I engage patterns to explore the personal and political forces that shape and misshape our lives: narratives, cultures, myths, institutions, and expectations – to reconcile the paradox of suffering and life-affirming beauty I see in the world and to remember that what was made can be unmade and remade. 


Untitled 10, 2012


Untitled 11, 2012


Untitled 3, 2012


Mural, 2014


Chinese. Japanese. Indian Chief., 2012


, 2001


I Know Karate (detail), 2012


Dirty Knees (detail), 2012


Wednesday's Child, 2012


Chinese. Japanese. Indian Chief., 2012


Thank You Link Double Suzani, 2011


Graphite and Gold Pistol Trellis, 2011


Silk Road STYLE, Orange County Chic!, 2011


Silk Road STYLE, Orange County Chic!, 2011


Silk Road STYLE, Orange County Chic!, 2011


Pocket Full of Sunshine, 2009


Ox Forgotten, 2008


Taming, 2008


A Feeling of Distinction, 2007


Pattern vs Decoration, 2007