The recent work of Marilyn Wong (b. 1949) is often associated with maps, and the pieces do resemble aerial views of ruins or fortified settlements, but her project is one that ultimately maps the human body. With anatomy and physiology textbooks as source material, Wong focuses on translating the minutely detailed anatomical drawings of cells, tissues, organs and body systems into pure abstractions. Clusters of interlocking and dispersing patterns of circles, hatching and line are drawn with fine-point pens on unprimed linen. Her style is restrained and elegant, its depth implied in the muted colors of her marks and washes.
Once the code has been cracked, and the work’s content exposed, Wong’s method—particulate, staccato, flattened, fragmented—ultimately renders an emotional and psychological engagement with anatomy. Basic human concerns with health, knowledge, and the need to diagnose and improve push against the mysteries that surround the human body with superstition, fear, faith, and wonder. Luckily we have an artist like Marilyn Wong to assure us that the hidden core of our bodies is a beautiful abstraction. She has been an artist at Creativity Explored since 1985.