Brendan Lee Satish Tang : Remix Generation
Brendan Lee Satish Tang
Remix Generation
Z.C., March 11, 2011
Bio_Express

Brendan Lee Satish Tang was born in Dublin, Ireland of Trinidadian parents, and is a naturalized citizen of Canada. His education includes the Master of Fine Arts degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Tang has exhibited in juried and invitational shows in Canada and the US, including at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Ottawa Art Gallery, and the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.  He has lectured at conferences and academic institutions across Canada. Tang has been recognized as an emerging artist in the periodical Ceramics Monthly, and his work has been featured in publications such as Hi-Fructose and FUSE. Recently, Tang completed a residency at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts (Helena, Montana). He currently resides in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

Brendan Lee Satish  Tang/Work in progress_Sneak Peek
Brendan Lee Satish Tang/Work in progress_Sneak Peek


Statement of Practice

My artistic practice embodies the influences, tensions and contradictions that define the postmodern world. At once, my works exhibit the paradoxical tendency to be irreverent, frivolous, and playful, as well as thoroughly engaged in critical reflection. Admittedly, my aesthetic is driven by a hedonistic engagement with visual culture, yet I remain apprehensive about the all-encompassing diversions of contemporary society. Although my works are nonfunctional, I often employ vessel forms, or otherwise allude to incongruous functionality (e.g., “wiring” of non-electronic parts). These apparent tensions may be particularly salient to my chosen field of ceramics, where discussions of “art” versus “craft” still occupy practitioners.


Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures
Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures


Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures
Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures


It is perhaps due to my belonging in the “remix” generation (with its products in pop music), that I tend to borrow and reconfigure ideas and influences to create works that I find both visually and intellectually compelling. I liken part of my artistic practice to “channel surfing,” where I absorb, interpret and bank a great deal of visual information to inform my personal aesthetic. Always interested in refined forms, I draw inspiration from such diverse realms as contemporary pop culture (e.g., plastic toys and Japanese comics), art history (e.g., in the form of Chinese Ming dynasty vessels and 18th century French rococo), and historical and contemporary practices in self-portraiture. Drawing on such rich cultural symbology, I abstract and configure images, forms and colors within a narrative. Humour is an essential communication device in my work; this is an especially effective means of engagement when addressing ‘difficult’ subject areas (e.g., war in Iraq, human-provoked climate change, multinational geo-politics).

Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures
Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures


Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures
Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures


Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures
Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures


As evidenced in my reconfiguration of historical art traditions and my use of mixed media, I am intrigued by cultural appropriation and hybridity. Undoubtedly, these predominant themes in my work are a reflection of my own ambiguous cultural identity. Although I am considered “Asian Canadian” within the dominant culture’s framing, my family has lost even vestiges of connectivity to Asia through several generations of intercontinental migration and ethnic intermarriage. I have used self-portraiture to explore issues of race, class and sexual identity in greater depth.

Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures
Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures


While my aesthetic is driven by a seemingly manic consumption of visual culture, my work is labour intensive and detail oriented. I place high value on craftsmanship, as refinement allows me to reference art history, and notions of class and value. I employ hand painting, gold luster, airbrushing, hand-modeled filigree, and photo-based decals, among other means, to create alluring pieces. Working primarily in clay, I exploit its ability to convincingly emulate other materials, such as the “robotic” prosthetics in the Manga Ormolu series. Undeniably, working in clay offers not only satisfying technical challenges, but also vital kinesthetic connectivity to my art practice.

Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures
Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures


Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures
Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures


It is perhaps unsurprising that the medium of ceramics itself conveys my work’s predominant themes of identity and social hierarchies, given its ambiguous place in the art world. Through my ceramic practice, I seek to encourage a broad conception of art as an unconstrained mode of expression.

Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures
Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures


Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures
Brendan Lee Tang_ Manga Ormolu, hybrid sculptures


www.brendantang.com