Hilary Hung, Artist – Guelph

Hilary Hung’s art practice raises questions about how materials can mediate meaning. Subverting the static nature of sculpture, she examines the potential for materials to subtly shift even as they are exhibited. Her installations are often in flux and challenge what it means to be in the past, present, and future. Her solo exhibition Amorphous explores the materiality of edible rice paper and is on view at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts until May 31.

1. MacGyvering tools

A maquette of a contraption I later decided to make large-scale.

There’s something whimsical about creating a tool on the fly by improvising with whatever you have around you. In my practice, I think a lot about impossibilities and follow a tangent of what-if experiments where I have to repurpose random objects to invent semi-functional tools. These instruments often become learning tools to evolve how I work with materials while informing my process.

2. Collecting detritus

I am fascinated by curating collections of discard materials. These boxes of junk become “sandboxes” for me to play with materiality. I like to think with my hands and feel each object’s history. I am drawn to how their physical state reflects their dysfunctional nature. It is in this space where new projects happen. Some of the things I’m currently collecting are crinkly peeled vinyl letters and dried up or broken rubber bands. If you come across any of these, I’d be happy to take them off your hands!

3. Gravity

Gravity is my greatest collaborator and my worst opponent. My recent sculptures reflect my interest in the anti-form and gravity has been the force behind these forms. Gravity can usurp the artist’s hand and simply leave impressions of what is and is not physically present.

4. Puzzling around

I have a toybox of puzzles that are a refuge from frustration or boredom in the studio. Whether I pretend to be a cruciverbalist, scribble through paper mazes, or find the last piece to a jigsaw puzzle, I’m drawn to the friction between creating order and being stumped. In the process of trying to solve puzzles, I actually come up with new problems and then new ideas.

5. Shel Silverstein

I first came across Shel Silverstein’s poetry in grade two and I still find it as perplexing as I did then! I find he uses imagination to collage impossible realities with dark humour, and this often surprises and inspires me. I think about how I can improvise with materials and invent alternate contexts to be half as wacky and wonderful as him!