Titling Yuh-Shioh Wong’s Paintings
We met in Marfa, Texas when I was on a Lannan Fellowship and Yuh-Shioh was painting in Marfa Book Company’s gallery provided by Tim Johnson. Murder Prevention was how I thought of her work when watching brows soften on anyone who walked into the gallery. All who visited felt the soft penetrating light of her paintings enter us to recalibrate our tools for examining the human condition. She shows us art can provide autonomous worldviews beyond formally designed perimeters of culture, letting us be free in the internal terra incognito.
We became friends and on one trip to an ancient petroglyph cave we were looking at bite marks on cactus made by javelinas. I said, “Javelinas are made out of cactus because that’s what they eat.” She asked if she could name one of her paintings this. A few months later when I was on a Tripwire residency provided by David Buuck in Oakland, Yuh-Shioh invited me to her house in Berkeley to name the other paintings from the new Marfa collection.
We spent eight hours with Yuh-Shioh bringing paintings out one at a time, perched on rocks against the
writing the letter of your life in the clearing
flying over the transmutation of the quiet
stethoscope to the petroglyph
the horns in the distance when we leave for the mountains
thinking with the longbow
bending the muscle of light