JOY WONG // Meditations on salt

Installation Info

This work was made in collaboration with the Atlantic Ocean. A large swath of grey-violet chiffon is hung off of an ornate copper armature. On the fabric is a sea of flotsam and detritus like driftwood and seaweed, small snippets of objects of desire, and fleeting feelings portrayed in a gradient of colours. This painting can be viewed from both sides, and is anchored by a small shell crusted in salt from Atlantic Ocean water. Likewise, the painting itself has been rinsed in seawater and now, open to the coastal air, reacts to its environment. The armature, made from antimicrobial copper, will continue to oxidize as it reacts to the salt in the air. Viewers are invited to think of the coast and horizon while viewing this work, and observe the soft movement of the fabric as the sea laps onto the shore. 

The salt of the skin results from endurance and labour. Tears and sweat adorn our surfaces like prints on fabric. The sea seduces—the liminal space between lands have both protected and scoured bodies traversing in pursuit of stable ground. What the swell demands is a material exploration of salt water—that which encrusts and protects, which blooms and crumbles, and disrupts the pictorial surface. This salt crust is also an artifact of disorientation—of losing sight of the coast, of queered and queering experiences of space and migration. This disorientation is at first a sensation of disempowerment, where one loses their footing. Can the protective crust be seen as a measure of self-preservation, against a larger body of power that demands more than one can give?



Joy Wong (they/she) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Tkaronto, Canada who works in painting, print media, poetry, and sculpture. Their practice connects material investigations with the shifting physicality of the body, with an emphasis on surfaces and the precarity of regenerative structures. She obtained her BFA from York University with a double major in Visual Arts and Creative Writing and received her MFA from Western University. Wong was a finalist for the 2018 RBC Canadian Painting Competition and was the 2019 Pope Artist in Residence at NSCAD. They have received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.