Artist Profile: Olyvia Hong
Written by Pearl McGlashan for Art Ache
LOT23, 26th July 2018.
Olyvia Hong is an Auckland-based artist whose primary interest lies in painting. Through fast and intuitive methods, Hong’s work looks to the practice of self-mythologizing among other modes of internal examination. Formally, Hong uses found supports, such as desk drawers, cut-up canvases and fabrics and combines them with paint, plaster, resin, found text and pop-culture images.
Born and raised in Auckland, Hong moved around a lot across the areas of Central, South and East Auckland and this upbringing taught her to be “light on [her] feet”. Her upbringing presents itself in her practice, as Hong says, she couldn’t be hugely attached to material things because she was constantly moving and shifting. So traces of the places she has been, people she has formed relationships with are recorded on to flat surfaces, like photographs, drawings, notes, and these form the background to the workings of her painting practice.
These photographs, letters, notes and splinters of her former selves sometimes appear in her work and traces of them form a background to the fragmentary nature of her painting practice.
Hong cites the work of Brazilian artist Paulo Nimer Pjota as a recent source of inspiration. Nimer Pjota, like Hong, is a painter, whose large-scale canvas works incorporate collage using sacks, scrap metal that he finds in junkyards or in the streets of his hometown. Another artist she looks to is Eric N. Mack, who Hong says she admires in the ways that his practice seeks to “extend and transform the notion painting”. Mack’s use of textiles, worn clothes, blankets and torn rags, alongside photographs and pull outs from books and magazines can be aligned with Hong’s own practice of creating sculptures-cum-paintings.
For Art Ache Olyvia presented pieces from her undergraduate years at Elam along with some works made the previous summer during a research scholarship project. The cobbled-together nature of the collected works and the differences is indicative of shifting identities, of her learning new things all the time; of play; the capacity for making art to harbour anonymity.
The cobbled-together nature of the collected works and the differences is indicative of shifting identities, of her learning new things all the time; of play; the capacity for making art to harbour anonymity.
After completing her undergraduate BFA (Honours, first class) at Elam, Hong has gone on in her studies and is undergoing a Master of Fine Arts. In tandem with her current studies, Hong is employed as graduate teaching assistant at Elam. Some previous group shows include I Understand If You’re Busy, RM Gallery (2018), Rabbit on the Moon, Hapori Vol. 6 (2017), Protagonist, Projectspace Gallery (2017) and Dog Pit, Satchi&Satchi&Satchi (2017).
Event Press Release.
Art Ache Collection Artwork.