A showcase of Wilson Shieh’s works from 2008-2013, surveyed are numerous threads of Shieh’s practice. Although Wilson Shieh is known for his gong-bi technique, it is also important to note his experimental treatment of other media, such as acrylic, color pencil and wood block prints which has allowed the artist to develop an expansive practice of motifs and concepts.
Exhibited are works from the Fitting Room series, in which Shieh explores the androgynous body; broad shouldered and small waisted – interchangeable for both his male and female characters. With these doll-like bases, he weighs on them with an exterior of individual hairstyles, faces, and apparel imbued with heavy questions on gender dynamics, culture, and identity. Like in painting a naked woman to play the strings of a naked man in “Music Families”, or the adornment of weaponized femininity in “Butterfly the Ninja”, his fixation on women and their higher power comes across in a great deal of his work. However, the women dressed head to toe in glass in “Glass Curtain Sisters” say more about Hong Kong than themselves.
In finding grounds for his identity and culture, he collects, assembles and disassembles celebrities, movies, and other icons of Hong Kong that have become the major building blocks that accumulated into what is our local culture. Often alluding to the familiar child-like aesthetics of paper dolls or old-fashioned decorative posters, these illustrations echo his previous focus on bodies and the separate exterior. This estranged visual organization indexes not only his pop cultural influences but also his influences as an artist. Being one of Hong Kong’s most established contemporary artists, his place constantly oscillates between the global and local Hong Kong market, and like a typical Hongkonger between China and the rest of the west. Thus forming a body of work colorful in Hong Kong and western references.