Alice Wang: We Are Extraterrestrial

Alice Wang. Silfra fissure, Iceland. Film still, Pyramids and Parabolas III, 2024. Courtesy of the artist.Commissioned by the Vincent Price Art Museum.

May 4– August 3, 2024
OPENING RECEPTION: May 4, 2024 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

In her first solo museum exhibition in the United States, We Are Extraterrestrial, artist Alice Wang showcases recent prints and glass sculptures, alongside newly-commissioned ceramic sculptures, film, and an artist book. These works are the result of her immersive research trips to sites with similar conditions to extraterrestrial bodies in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and across Iceland and the Arctic.

Wang employs a post-minimalist aesthetic for object-making and a structuralist approach to moving images, expanding the limitations of materials, whether familiar or foreign. She interrogates medium specificity as both a conceptual framework and in the exploration of forms, integrating scientific, technological, and mythical perspectives to reveal the inherent meaning within natural materials.

Wang's fascination with hexagonal forms led her to develop ceramic sculptures for the exhibition, drawing inspiration from natural geometric formations such as basalt columns found in unique volcanic locations worldwide, as well as molecular structures such as carbon and serotonin. Wang collaborated with the Art Department at East Los Angeles College, bringing together a team of students, faculty, and fabricators to create a new suite of ceramic works that experiment with scale and perception, while challenging the notion that the physical boundaries of art are confined to its visible expression.

Pyramids and Parabolas III, a structuralist film by Wang comprised of footage from her solo expeditions over the past six years that seeks terrestrial topographies on Earth that resemble those found on other planets, is also being screened within the exhibition. By skillfully interlacing travelogue vignettes, personal anecdotes, and family history, the film presents the body as an instrument for exploring physical and psychological landscapes.

The works presented in the exhibition reflect the artist’s deep curiosity for the interplay between the real and the imaginary, navigating the tensions between the scientific method and the anthropocentric perception of nature. Wang’s artworks serve as conduits for metaphysical inquiry, conjuring the intersections of science and mystery, the collapsing of the artificial binaries of the worldly and otherworldly, where the known encounters the unknown, and confronting the limits of human comprehension.

About the Artist

Alice Wang received a B.Sc. in Computer Science and International Relations from the University of Toronto, a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, and an MFA from New York University. She was a fellow at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, a Villa Aurora fellow in Berlin, and a grant recipient from the Canada Council for the Arts. Wang has participated in solo exhibitions at the UCCA Dune Art Museum, Beidaihe, China; Capsule Shanghai (2017, 2021); Human Resources, Los Angeles; and 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, among others. She has also presented work at the Hammer Museum, Galleria Continua, Para Site, Galerie Urs Meile, and the 14th Shanghai Biennale. Wang will be an artist-in-residence at the International Studio & Curatorial Program in December. She lives and works in New York.

Generous support for this project is provided through a grant from the Mellon Foundation. Additional support provided by the Canada Council for the Arts and the LA County Department of Arts and Culture as part of Creative Recovery LA, an initiative funded by the American Rescue Plan. All exhibitions at the Vincent Price Art Museum are underwritten by the Vincent Price Art Museum Foundation and East Los Angeles College.