Celestial Bodies

two bottles of lotion with satirical labels about asian heritage
Remedies, Monica Ong 2009

Monica Ong is a visual artist and poet whose hybrid image-poems juxtapose diagram and diary, bearing witness to silenced histories of the body. She completed her MFA in Digital Media at the Rhode Island School of Design and is also a Kundiman poetry fellow. Her debut collection Silent Anatomies, which was selected for the 2014 Kore Press First Book Award in poetry by Joy Harjo, was released in February 2015. Silent Anatomies is a collection of works that traverse the body’s terrain, examining the phenomena of cultural silences. Whether it is shame obscuring the female body, the social stigma shrouding certain illnesses, or the cryptic stories of her ancestors, Monica Ong interrogates the agency of the daughter, who must decide whether or not to speak out. What happens to stories that go underreported, un-translated, or are completely erased?

Presented as a series of art installations, these poems are as much visual journeys as they are lyrical haunts of medicine and memory. Pushing the boundaries of text and image, Ong employs a range of medical ephemera, from x-ray scans to anatomical drawings to an apothecary of cultural remedies. These works frame the power struggles and the illusion of indisputable fact as a way to carry all the fictions that make up our multi-cultural identities.

Exhibition Checklist

  • Metal Lungs, 2011
    Ed. 1/1
    Artist book, archival ink on paper, wood
    14×18 in.
  • Catching a Wave, 2013 Ed. 1/1
    Duratrans print on x-ray light box
    14×18 in.
  • Corona Mestiza, 2011
    Ed. 1/1
    Duratrans print on x-ray light box
    14×18 in.
  • Remedies: “Silent Treatment”, “Her Youth Asia”, “Perfect Baby Formula”, “Fortune Babies”, “Yeong Mae’s Whitening Solution” and “Yeong Mae’s Oral Whitening Rinse”, 2009-2010
    Ed. 1/1
    Digital print on vintage bottles, epoxy, wooden boxes. Four individual boxes each sized 4.75x14x4 in. One Pair of bottles in a drawer box sized 14x8x4 in.
  • Glass Larynx, 2014
    Ed. 35/50
    Letterpress Broadside on Archival 100lb Mohawk Superfine softwhite, eggshell finish paper
    11×14
  • The Vessel, 2014
    Ed. 45/50
    Letterpress Broadside on Archival 100lb Mohawk Superfine softwhite, eggshell finish paper
    11×14
  • Innervation, 2014
    Ed. 48/50
    Letterpress Broadside on Archival 100lb Mohawk Superfine softwhite, eggshell finish paper
    11×14
  • In collaboration with Dexterity Press
    Purple Forbidden Enclosure, 2018
    Ed. 1/60
    Letterpress broadside, gold and silver ink, on French paper in Nightshift Blue
    14×20 in.
  • Shooting Stars, 2018
    Ed. 1/10
    Giclée print broadside
    11×17 in.
  • Her Hypothesis, 2018
    Ed. 1/10
    Giclée print broadside
    11×17 in.
  • Feather, 2017
    Ed. 1/10
    Giclée print broadside
    11×17 in.
  • Sun, Not Son, 2018
    Ed. 1/10
    Giclée print broadside
    11×17 in.
  • Syzygy, 2017
    Ed. 1/10
    Giclée print broadside
    11×17 in.
  • Woman’s Place in the Universe, 2017
    Ed. 1/10
    Giclée print broadside
    11×17 in.

Exhibition Views

two bottles inside a empty wood drawer
Remedies (whiting), Monica Ong 2009
broadside
Innervation, Monica Ong 2014
broadside
The Vessel, Monica Ong 2014
x-ray of brain on light box
Corona Mestiza, Monica Ong 2011
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