The Real & Imagined Press Release

The Real & Imagined Press Release

by Lauren Kennedy

The Real & Imagined 

Erin Harmon // Kong Wee Pang

A new exhibition from Sheet Cake Gallery

MEMPHIS, TN, May 3, 2024 – Sheet Cake Gallery presents a new exhibition, The Real & Imagined, of work from Erin Harmon and Kong wee Pang. Both artists reference the world and landscape around us but delve into imaginary environments and creations that feel playful and entrancing.

Erin Harmon describes her work as dwelling in the twilight zone between painting and sculpture, and in this new body of work, she leans even further into that play between material and form. Where her previous landscapes lent themselves to portals for escape and fantasy, Harmon has shifted her focus to animating and forging a deeper relationship with the formal qualities that have been present in her work for a number of years. She reflects on the forms more as characters or individuals that she continually revisits and have become their own little creatures - some evoke specific colors or surface treatments, and move or interact with others in certain ways. Consistent with her long-time painting practice using cut paper collages, Harmon continues to be inspired by the natural world. The colors in her work draw from the golden, smoggy light specific to Southern California where she was raised to the accumulation and density of forms recognizable in her paintings come from the teeming fecundity of the American South where she now lives. 

Kong Wee Pang is well-known locally for her contributions to the public art landscape in Memphis and beyond, but she takes a different approach to her fine art practice. For the Real & Imagined, Pang further explores a technique that she developed during the pandemic using watercolor on canvas. These paintings are created in one sitting due to the nature of the materials, and ultimately take on a life of their own as gravity and humidity behave as they are wont to do. Pang both attempts to exert control on the materials through her painting process, and to embrace what she cannot; beginning with a concept in mind, and then finding herself on a journey where the painting ultimately takes the lead. She describes this body of work as still life imaginations, depicting hybrid vegetative and animalistic creatures. The transformation of her forms is borne out of her experience as an artist born in Malaysia and now long-time resident of Memphis. She fuses Asian art traditions and aspects of the Chinese zodiac with Western abstraction, creating her own idiosyncratic language. 

Erin Harmon earned a BA in Studio Art from San Diego State University and an MFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design. She has exhibited extensively in both group and solo exhibitions at venues including Field Projects, NY; Sarah Doyle Gallery, Providence RI; Atlanta Artists Center & Gallery, Atlanta GA; the Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN; Hilbert Raum Gallery, Berlin, Germany; the Attleboro Arts Museum, Attleboro, MA; and LAUNCH Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Currently she holds the James F. Ruffin Chair of Art at Rhodes College where she has taught for 20 years. She is a founding member of Tiger Strikes Asteroid Los Angeles, the western-most outpost of the national not-for-profit artist-run gallery.

Kong Wee Pang moved to the United States in 2001 from multicultural Malaysia after graduating from the Singapore Nanyang Academy of Fine Art. Following her relocation, she received a degree in Fine Art and design and an MFA from the Memphis College of Art. In 2016, she co-founded Taropop Studio, focusing on public art and award-winning branding. A truly global artist, her work crosses mediums and borders, reaching from New York, California, Denver, and elsewhere in the United States, to Spain, Italy, Germany, Singapore, and Malaysia. She is a multi-disciplined artist + designer. Using different mediums to express her art and design works including watercolor, sequins wall, 3D die-cut objects, interactive murals, paint on canvas, and digital media.