Junli Song, No Daffodils Grow Here, 2021, Lithograph, 14″ x 11″

Guest blog post by Paloma Mayorga

To set eyes on a work by artist and storyteller Junli Song is to dive into a vibrant, eloquent world where nature and bold feminist characters take center stage. Utilizing lithography and pochoir techniques as well as animation and ceramics, Song experiments with layers of translucent color to play with flatness and negative space as a way of visualizing the fluid nature of identity. 

Song writes, “As a Chinese-American woman, I have undertaken the project of world-building as a way to create a space where I belong, and to make sense of the complex, often contradictory, realities of existing between cultures.” 

Junli Song, The Great Splash, 2021, Lithograph, 19″ x 15″

Currently working on an MFA at the University of Arkansas with a concentration in printmaking, Song’s most recent works feature a female reimagining of the mythological headless Chinese deity, Xingtian, a symbol of resistance. It is through this character that Song creates visual narratives that challenge Western perspectives in the construction of space and furthermore, the self.

Junli Song, La Danse, 2021, Lithograph, 15″ x 21″

In works such as La Danse, for instance, Song thoughtfully dissects Henri Matisse’s Dance (1909) by working out composition through the whimsical perspective of the Xingtianesque characters who spacially flow between the foreground and background, arranged in the original dance formation. Song even reinterprets this work in a pochoir print, further borrowing lessons from the stenciling technique that Matisse favored to create works uniquely hers. 

That moment of “in-betweeness” in the process of building identity, where reflection and transformation are key, inspires the work of Song. She writes, “Drawing upon the fantasy and humor inherent in self-making within diasporic societies, my work reveals the fluid nature of identity as inherited stories and traditions continually evolve.”

Learn more about Junli Song’s work by visiting artsofsong.com and listening to her recent conversation with Miranda Metcalf of Hello, Print Friend:

View Junli Song’s work at Ivester Contemporary

Part of our 5×5 online exhibition this year included an in-person element at Ivester Contemporary. After our juror, Caitlin Clay, Curator of Exhibitions at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET), chose the five exhibiting artists based on their five submitted works, Ivester Contemporary chose two works per artist to hang in their auxiliary gallery. The show is up until January 22, 2022 with an opening on January 14–a kickoff event for PrintAustin’s 2022 festival! 

The 5X5
In partnership with Ivester Contemporary, PrintAustin’s 2nd annual online juried exhibition, The 5×5, is juried by Caitlin Clay, Curator of Exhibitions at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. This virtual exhibition–with an in-person element at Ivester–showcases five works by five contemporary artists from the United States, Mexico, and Poland, giving us a broad survey of printmaking happening across the globe. 

Ivester Contemporary
Ivester Contemporary is an Austin-based contemporary fine art gallery committed to connecting people with leading local and regional artists and ideas. Rotating exhibitions are focused on creating a context for contemplation, deepening appreciation for the visual arts, and facilitating a dialog between the artist and their viewers. Ivester Contemporary is located within the Canopy Creative Complex in East Austin, a central hub for artists, gallerists, and other creative types.

Hello, Print Friend
Hello, Print Friend is a podcast dedicated to the celebration and amplification of contemporary printmaking and its culture. Releasing interviews every week with artists, activists, curators, and print champions, we explore what it is that brings together this passionate, yet often geographically separated community, across a press bed and around the world.