Artist Ellen Pong Pays Tribute to Her Native Pacific Northwest in a New Furnishings and Sculpture Exhibition in New York

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Though stunning in its natural beauty, the Pacific Northwest takes on a mysterious undertone with its jagged coastlines, temperate rainforests, and emerald-green river valleys. The sullen yet cozy environment has served as an ample source of inspiration for various creatives; think David Lynch’s Twin Peaks or the grunge movement.

Tapping into a similar sentiment is multifaceted artist Ellen Pong with her latest collection of organic, slightly architectonic sculptures and furnishings. On view at Superhouse Vitrine in Chinatown, New York City (through January 8), her exhibition “Middle Fork” is an ode to the wooded mountains just outside Pong’s hometown of Seattle.

Presented against a dramatic crimson-red backdrop, a prolific offering of glass-blown tables, hand-textured ceramic lamp shades, and treated-steel sconces stem from different moments of “ecological creativity” in this “harsh, powerful, and indifferent” setting.

Installation view, “Middle Fork,” Ellen Pong. Photo: Sean Davidson, courtesy of Superhouse.

“The landscape derives its beauty from a sense of foreboding mystery,” the artist told Artnet News. “These works take inspiration from those moments of brief hallucination when you can’t help but see what the forest wants to show you.” The exhibition as a whole comes together as a kind of simulated woodland.

With this latest endeavor, Pong was interested in exploring how seemingly dissimilar elements can bypass each other, clash, meld, and co-exist harmoniously. Bridging amorphous shapes with rectilinear planes, as in the side table or the wall mirror with candleholder. Blending two typologies, for example bench with lamp, also demonstrates this preoccupation. 

“Ellen challenged herself to go beyond her traditional medium of ceramic for ‘Middle Fork,’” said Superhouse principal Stephen Markos. “The resulting work is a moving testament to the designer’s growth and demonstrates her prowess at harnessing material to evoke a mood, a memory, a sensation.” Pong is particularly adept at channeling tried and true craft techniques in unexpected and playful applications. Her work often situates between the serenity of untouched nature and the chaos of urban life.

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