We instinctively understand that splashes of bright red blood and pale, incomplete bodies are indicative of a violent, mortal attack on a person. We are horrified and fascinated by the gruesome spectacle, and are perhaps torn by the compulsions to run in fear or offer aid. Nen Chang artfully explores these vital impulses, and others in her figurative works.
The evidence of violence throughout her works is undeniable, yet the figures subjected to these horrors are supernaturally serene; not whole, but sustained by an unseen force. Does this force come from within their spirit or the world around them? Other of Ms. Chang’s characters are whole, but still bloodied. Active participants perhaps, in the commission of sinister acts of violence?
The seemingly delicate injured yet powerful creatures who may be broken but are not beaten will be what lingers in your mind long after your visit. That they are so viciously transformed and yet live may be an indication that their injuries are not physical, but spiritual. Trauma no less excruciating, but thought their will and determination they survive, and perhaps even thrive.
Written by Jeff in August of 2022. Last edited August 2022.