Design, Exhibition, and Acquisition News

Being immersed in so many interesting projects, I haven’t spent as much time online as I used to. So this is a brief recap of some exciting events in the past few months to share.

Photo by Bethany Swann

Photo by Bethany Swann

Virtual Tour of John Ashbery’s Home

After several years of design, development, and production, the Yale Digital Humanities Laboratory in collaboration with Ashbery biographer Karin Roffman launched the virtual tour of John Ashbery’s home on February 5, 2019. I had the honor and pleasure of serving as the UX Designer on the project, helping to shape the aesthetics and visual design of the experience and even voicing readings of selected poems. It was a team effort to integrate the detailed 360° views of the home and collections, beautifully captured by VRHabitat, into a robust web environment provided by the Yale ITS web development team in a way that highlights Karin Roffman’s unparalleled scholarship on this legendary poet’s life and artistic work.

Center for Book Arts Exhibition & Yale Acquisition

Last fall, selected works from Silent Anatomies were displayed alongside new works at the Center for Book Arts in a Featured Artist Project show titled Monica Ong: Celestial Bodies, curated by Alexander Campos. It was a lovely place for some of the poetry installations to conclude their many years touring in exhibitions, as they were then acquired into the permanent collection of the Yale Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the beginning of this year. I also shared recent experiments in poetry and astronomy and enjoyed meeting folks who share a love of poetry, book arts, and sciences.

Monica’s Artist Talk

Monica’s Artist Talk

Center for Book Arts, Fall 2018

Center for Book Arts, Fall 2018

There is still a lot cooking that I hope to share more updates on. In the meantime, sign up for my newsletter (which yes, I need to get back to!).









+Art of Collaboration Exhibition @ Beinecke Library

A new exhibition title + The Art of Collaboration recently opened at the Yale Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which explores a range of works and archives that reveal the play and process of collaboration in arts and letters. I was so pleased to be part of the exhibition as a contributing artist in Asian American Tarot: A Mental Health Project, "a new deck of tarot cards, featuring original art and text, revealing the hidden contours of our Asian American lives" which was directed by the amazing editors of the Asian American Literary Review.

+Art of Collaboration banner in the lobby featuring artwork based on my father's archive (right).

+Art of Collaboration banner in the lobby featuring artwork based on my father's archive (right).

To my pleasant surprise, it was also neat to a photo from my father's archives on display in the lobby alongside such incredible company. Special thanks to the amazing curators: Nancy Kuhl, Melissa Barton, and Elizabeth Frengel. The exhibition will be on display through April 15, 2018 so come by if you are nearby! 
 

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For the Love of Letterpress

Join me for a behind the scenes peek into the studio of Dexterity Press, where the broadsides for Silent Anatomies were made. Producing these poems with this unique process was an enjoyable collaboration made possible by Jeff Mueller who patiently fielded my ideas and was willing to go the extra mile to translate those ideas into one-of-a-kind art pieces.

GALLERY: Each broadside is printed on a Vandercook Universal 1 proof press using wood-mounted 16g magnesium dies on luscious archival paper, 100lb Mohawk Superfine softwhite, eggshell finish. The other press that you see above is used to do blind embossing.

Collaboration is key to the success to making a design distinct for letterpress. I learned that it is not at all like the digital prepress work that I'm so used to doing. Rather, even when at press, there is a bit of improvisation and resourcefulness that goes on to make all the visual elements and text work together. For example, my original images of the poems are layered on scans of pages of vintage medical books. We wanted something that felt more tactile so Jeff suggested using natural woodblocks that feature beautiful grain textures. We also experimented with background colors that were different than the off white of the originals. The results were astounding. Below is "The Glass Larynx" which has a robin egg blue background, evoking a kind of fragility and translucence.

When planning these it's important to consider what the final context will be. In this case, I wanted something that readers and art lovers could collect and easily bring home from book signings. I also wanted these to display well together in gallery spaces. Even though each work was created individually at different times, when presented together, they will visually talk to each other and therefore it's important to make choices that allow them to harmonize.

We discussed choices that would make each work distinct, such as using complementary hues for each background. To unify them typographically as a series Jeff also shifted some type to have similar placement across all three pieces. Having two people with a real appreciation for type and design definitely made this more than just printing a page, it's actually more about translating a poem into the realm of precious object.

With patience and the ability to make room for surprise, we are then able to feel the joy of astonishment.

Monica's Art on the cover of "On the Refusal to Speak"

Published by Dancing Girl Press, 2012

One of my favorite collaborations was with a wonderful poet, Rebecca Givens Rolland, where I created an interactive experience of one of her poems called Fallow. This month she releases a new chapbook called On the Refusal to Speak, which features some artwork from Fallow on the cover. Her chapbook is published by Dancing Girl Press and is a stunning collection of poems.

Opening Reception: Critical Condition

The opening of Critical Condition: When Silence Speaks was a great success! Thanks to Steve Olsen, my installation specialist, for all his hard work. Check out the highlights of the evening as well we the work.

The exhibition will be up through September 16, 2011. Please contact the Parachute Factory at 203-764-7594 for directions and gallery hours. They did tell me they can make weekend appointments.

Critical Condition opens July 12

Critical Condition opens on July 12 at the Parachute Factory in New Haven. It is an exciting group exhibition not only of artists but also of citizen storytellers via the Center for Digital Storytelling's Silence Speaks Initiative. This exhibition seeks to expose the stories about health that you don't hear, narratives that are underreported, undocumented, and untranslated. And I felt really compelled to open a space for these stories to exists in so that we can think about how it informs the way we seek out health. It seeks to question the structure of the global healthcare system where it is all too easy for women or the other to be invisible.

Featured artists
Liana Dragoman, Monica Ong, Silvia Rigon, and the Center for Digital Storytelling

Operning Reception
Tuesday July 12, 6–8 pm

Gallery Hours
Wednesday: 10 am – 2 pm
Thursday + Friday: 12–5 pm
+ by appointment

Parachute Factory
Erector Square, Building 1
319 Peck Street
New Haven, CT 06513

Statement
This exhibition positions the body as a stage – where embedded beliefs and social constructs collide and re-emerge as transformative narratives about cultural anomalies in public health. These artists and storytellers gather voices of witness and meditation, asking questions that are poignant but pointed.

What happens when a woman’s body cannot be translated? Why do scars persist and what do they teach us about silenced histories? When aberrations in cell growth spell out a terminal condition, what happens to our illusion of security? How do we contend with stigma in the face of sexual abuse or mental illness? These ruptures call on us to revisit – and redefine – the social conditions from which they erupt, spill, and burn into our shared memory.

DOWNLOAD PRESS KIT

Please support this collective of women artists for Critical Condition, an exhibition giving voice to important community issues in public health. All donated funds will help to make this show possible at the Parachute Factory, a collaboration between the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH), the Community Services Network of Greater New Haven (CSN), and the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.

Critical Condition: Please Support!

 

Please support this collective of women artists for Critical Condition, an exhibition giving voice to important community issues in public health. All donated funds will help to make this show possible at the Parachute Factory, a collaboration between the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH), the Community Services Network of Greater New Haven (CSN), and the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.

Featuring new work by artists Liana Dragoman, Monica Ong Reed, Silvia Rigon, and the Center for Digital Storytelling.

This exhibition positions the body as a stage – where embedded beliefs and social constructs collide and re-emerge as transformative narratives about cultural anomalies in public health. These artists and storytellers gather voices of witness and meditation, asking questions that are poignant but pointed.

What happens when a woman’s body cannot be translated? Why do scars persist and what do they teach us about silenced histories? When aberrations in cell growth spell out a terminal condition, what happens to our illusion of security? How do we contend with stigma in the face of domestic violence or HIV/AIDS? These ruptures call on us to revisit – and redefine – the social conditions from which they erupt, spill, and burn into our shared memory.

See You on the Flip Side! : An Exhibition on Narrative/Identity

February 3 – March 12, 2011 : AC Institute

Recent works by Monica will be featured in a group exhibition "See You on the Flip Side!" on narrative and identity at the AC Institute in the Chelsea gallery district in New York from February 3–March 12, 2011. The exhibition will feature the "Remedies" series as well as the completed "Old Timer's Dis-ease" series that reflects on the cultural-medical experiences in her multi-generational family.