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Healing and Justice

Augustina Wang: “For Glory and For Love” at Sow & Tailor

Xixi Wang
May 24, 2023
Augustina Wang. Poet, 2023, Oil on canvas, 72 × 120 in. Artwork & Installation: Mason Kuehler, Courtesy of Sow & Tailor and Augustina Wang

THE COLLECTION OF FANTASTICAL PAINTINGS in Augustina Wang’s recent exhibition, For Glory and For Love, at Sow & Tailor, offered a refreshing narrative where Asian femmes exist as the heroes of their own world. The exhibition showcased a range of mediums from oil paintings to soft pastels on canvas, organized around a dream-like centerpiece installation of a sword resting amid a dome-shaped mound of flora and fauna. Through her vivid figurative paintings, Wang transplanted the viewer into a universe where women actively challenge traditional gender roles and freely express rage against misogyny.

In Lover and Fighter, a woman wraps her arms around a feminine, demonic creature with fangs and long, glistening nails. Both beings have their breasts exposed, and where their bodies meet in the middle, their flesh begins to meld into one another. Rendered in oil and pastel, their seductive and infernal characteristics embody the dualities that occupy Wang’s imaginary world.

Augustina Wang. Lover and Fighter, 2023, Oil on canvas, 16 × 20 in

In the diptych Poet, an angelic poet sits in a dreamlike meadow, writing. She simultaneously watches a young woman to her left submerge the head of another into a body of water. As a survivor of assault, Wang has firsthand experience with being a victim and a bystander. In this scene, she draws from her own experiences while noting the complex and conflicting processes of healing and seeking justice.

The recurring motif of the sword, along with bow and arrows and the female heroine dressed as a knight in shining armor, brought to mind a mix of a modern heroine princess fairytale. Wang adopted these visuals from online spaces like video games and fanfiction, where female characters exist beyond the misogyny and sexism of our daily lives. Wang’s feminine characters take on the guise of warriors with metal swords as an empowering symbol, as they physically take up space to challenge the status quo.

Augustina Wang. A Sword From a Dream, 2023, Oil on canvas, 36 × 12 in

Beneath these canvases of fantastical scenes lies Wang’s own tale as a first-generation Chinese American who was raised by an immigrant single mom. Growing up in the community of Flushing, Queens, New York City, Wang now works in Brooklyn, NY and for her debut solo exhibition, she proclaims her artistic agency and heroically challenges a world where narratives like hers aren’t often visible.

Augustina Wang: “For Glory and For Love” ran from April 15, 2023 thru May 13, 2023 at Sow & Tailor in Los Angeles.

Sow & Tailor
3027 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Xixi Wang is an artist based in New York City. She is a graphic designer at TED-Ed and also the founder and creative director of Asians For Sex Positivity, a digital organization dedicated to amplifying API voices and dismantling sexual shame.