"Tell All the Truth But Tell It Slant"
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Oil pasteland oil on Yupo paper | 2017
Chaos, In An Almost Classical Mode is artist Fei Li’s attempt to create an encyclopedia that examines the capacity for chaos inside a rigorous and coherent structure. Li’s approach is oblique, like walking a tightrope between visual dynamics and pandemonium. Inspired by the correspondences between James Joyce’s Ulysses and Homer’s Odyssey, the paintings in this series take the structure of historical artworks as their point of departure. Embodying the allusive nature of the works, the paintings weave an immense network of visual relationships into a labyrinth. Li purposefully uses small oil pastel sticks on large surfaces as a metaphor for the artist raising arms against manifest destiny, exploring what it means to confront an impossibility.
The title is from Emily Dickinson’s poem. My storytelling is oblique, slant, and challenging. Marianne Moore once described the Greeks enjoyed the mental difficulties — "like the happy soul in hell." I embrace moving edgewise in this painting.
86 x 60 inches
Signed by artist.
The work comes with a Certification of Authenticity signed and numbered by the Co-Founder of Tappan
Fei Li’s work explores the strength of fragility as she works to dismantle both the assimilation and typecasting of Asian diasporic art in the west through painting, public ritual, and interactive storytelling. She is the awardee of numerous funded artist’s residencies, fellowships, and grants, and has been recently featured in Hyperallergic and Hypebeast.