April 28 – June 10, 2023
The Main Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday April 28th, 7 -10 pm
In her recent body of works, Wei Li applies digital technologies to create computer renderings with hyperrealist details. She explores the intersection of advanced technology and computer-generated art. Wei converts – with a nod to Marcel Duchamp – the ordinary objects (objets trouvé) and household products into a surrealistic anthropomorphic hybrid by covering parts of those objects in human skin, hair, lumps, and all. In the process, the digital objects are morphed into imperfect ‘vessels’ that help the artist to explore her identity as a Chinese Canadian female artist while conveying her emotional experience of living in a Canadian pluralistic society.
In “Vessels”, Wei’s new digital series, the artist explores possibilities in a new vision of hybridity. By replacing parts of ordinary objects with the human body/skin, she creates grotesque anthropomorphic hybrid containers which trigger the viewer’s visceral and emotional responses. The gestures in her works are symbolic and metaphoric. The body/skin activates commentary on the organic body, identity, and cultural and social diasporas. The household product or objects invoke conversations about packaging and manufactured materials, and the objectification and commodification of human experience.
This new series of digital works addresses the psychological experience of hybridity from Wei’s personal experience and – at the same time – echoes our complex reality in a subtle and meditative way.
Wei Li is an Edmonton-based emerging Chinese Canadian visual artist, whose experience of being a new immigrant to Canada, provides her with crucial inspiration in her artistic practice. Her dual cultural background challenges her to integrate different cultural perspectives in her works and creates tensions through the contradictions inherent in forming a new hybrid cultural identity. Li graduated in 2017 with BFA in Painting (with Distinction) from the University of Alberta and has participated in several exhibitions and artistic residencies across Canada and the United States of America, including the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation Artist Residency in 2021. Her first major solo exhibition “Curious Things” was featured in August of 2017 in the Art Incubator Gallery at Harcourt House Artist Run Centre in Edmonton. Li was a finalist in the 2017 RBC Canadian Painting Competition with her works showcased at the National Art Gallery in Ottawa. Recently, Wei has expanded her practice to the digital medium. She was the recipient of the prestigious Emerging Digital Artist Award in 2022, and her digital works were acquired as part of the EQ Bank’s digital art collection and were presented at the Trinity Square Video in Toronto.
This project is supported by the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton.
Top Image: Chilli Sauce (detail), 2022; digital image
Photo courtesy of the artist