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Work Samples

Niagara (Evening View)

installation, painting
Installation in the evening at Smithsonian's Arts and Industry Building

Biological Controls: If It Bleeds We Can Kill It

Installation view of Biological Controls: If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It at School 33.

Effigy, Ellegy, Eulogy

installation, painting
Installation View

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About Phaan

Baltimore City

Phaan Howng's picture
Phaan Howng, 洪恭凡 (United States, b. 1982) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Baltimore, Maryland. Using large-scale landscape paintings, sculptures, and installations, Howng cinematically stages the sublime and formidable beauty of a post-human earth in order to initiate dialogues about the current crises of world ecology and negative effects of the Anthropocene epoch. Her cinematic visions figure an “optimistic post-apocalypse” in works driven by her sympathy for nature and disappointment in... more

The Succession of Nature

Phaan Howng: The Succession of Nature was created as part of the third iteration of the Baltimore Museum of Art's Commons Collaboration. The Commons Collaboration commissions an artist and a non-profit group to work together on an installation and offer a series of public programs related to Imagining Home. For this installation, Howng in collaboration with Blue Water Baltimore aims to inspire awareness about the fragility and preciousness of nature and its resources in an age when human activity, avarice, and violence have resulted in unprecedented dangers and loss connected to climate change.

Howng's immersive installation invites the viewer to question definitions of home by imagining dystopic future devoid of the comforts and conveniences we associate with safe and secure domestic interiors. Devoid of the life-sustaining resources that satisfy basic human needs—clean water and air, healthy flora and fauna, and protective shelter—the walls of home are here refigured, replaced by wild colors and distorted shapes that allude to the toxicity, waste, and chaos of a post-apocalyptic world. Earth links us as human beings since, without our planet and her natural resources, no one, regardless of class, race, or gender, can survive. Put otherwise, if we are unable to modify our activities, Howng asks us to consider the results of our careless behavior and selfish choices.

Size: The Joseph Education Center is approximately over 950 square feet with 10' high ceilings
Medium (95% of the installation was hand painted):

  • Walls- acrylic, acrylic gouache, and spray paint on 140lb Fabriano Watercolor Paper
  • Floors-acrylic, acrylic gouache, spray paint, and polyurethane on MDF
  • Logs-acrylic, acrylic gouache, spray paint on paper mache and chicken wire
  • Fire pit- acrylic and spray paint on foam, MDF, assorted water bottles consumed by the artist and her studio assistants during the fabrication of the installation
  • Fire pit bench-acrylic, acrylic gouache, spray paint and epoxy clay on a bench used in other installations made of fiber glass
  • Picnic Table- Custom printed wallpaper and car wrap on existing table
  • Picnic Benches- acrylic, acrylic gouache, spray paint and epoxy clay on prefab pine benches
  • Shelter- 1.25" cold rolled steel square tube, netting, and paracord
  • Shelter Interior: Cot- cold rolled steel square tube, foam cushion, and custom fabric; End table: acrylic, acrylic gouache, spray paint and polyurethane on MDF and hardwood; Radio-prefab radio with spray paint

Other Mediums:

  • Sound
  • Lighting

Niagara

Niagara (Diptych), 2018, Acrylic, acrylic gouache and spray paint on Tyvek. Approx 24'x14' per panel
Peaks (Auxillary Sculptural Elements), 2018, Paper mache, acrylic, acrylic gouache, and spray paint. Various sizes
Installation location: Smithsonian Arts and Industry Building, Washington DC

While creating Niagara, I was heavily influenced by Princeton Professor Rob Nixon’s concepts of “slow violence,” or “violence that occurs gradually and out of sight; a delayed destruction often dispersed across time and space.” Niagara gives expression to our inability to see the long-term consequences of poor environmental policies, wars, and pollution, among other things, that result in human and ecological casualties of abiding structural violence.

This painting epitomizes “slow violence” against water on our planet. It captures the consequences and results of us – humans-- not thinking fully about how our consumption and waste affects a critical resource that humans, plants, and animals, cannot live without. It manifests what water would look like far into the future in a post-human world. Niagara Falls, an icon of waterfalls, a huge tourist attraction, and with its association with the Love Canal disaster, became a fitting title.

Effigy, Ellegy, Eulogy

Effigy, Ellegy, Eulogy is a painting installation created for the Spring 2018 Solo's at Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, VA.

This work was created in dedication to the students who experienced/lost their lives during the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, my alma mater. Because of the show's location in Arlington, VA, where the Arlington National Cemetary is situated, and its proximity to Washington DC, I chose to create work not about the environment directly but as an expression of grief for the victims of gun violence in general and the incident at my high school specifically.

Eternal Navigators of Doom (ENDO)

The Eternal Navigators of Doom (ENDO) is conceptual entity used to different sci-fiction inspired scenarios, narratives and performances about to the post-apocalypse. Using the post-apocalypse as a central theme, this performance work is aimed to comment on the various aspects modern society especially on climate change, preppers, non-profit organizations, religious entities, fake news, the occult, millennialism, people's will to live, post-humanism, capitalism, and more.

The Eternal Navigators of Doom is an organization that has the ability to travel between modern day and the post-apocalypse. They conduct research on possible apocalyptic scenarios in order to help their members prepare for the oncoming doom. ENDO also has the ability to help its members survive after the apocalypse in a post-human world.

ENDO first debuted at the Baltimore Museum of Art on November 3, 2017. This performance included multiple elements in order for it to be successful. A video was created to serve as an introduction to the organization but turns into a fundraising opportunity. Fundraising merchandise were created and sold. A Square Space account was created to sell merchandise and memberships to visitors. Memberships included a special password for each person to be able to access a special members only website: Eternalnavigatorsofdoom.org, where they will be able to see what type of possible apocalypse they will need to prepare for based on the latest news trends. Each new member of the were initiated by the ENDO team, where the leader drew the symbol onto the new member's hand, and welcomed them to the organization.

Just watch the video....

Biological Controls: If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It

Biological Controls: If It Bleeds We Can Kill It is an immersive environment done in School 33's Project space. This installation is based on my concepts of a nature-built defense system—an environment that camouflages within its own environment in order to incapacitate anyone through shock and disruption. I drew my influence from the John McTiernan movie Predator, but in this case the roles between humans and the environment are reversed—the environment becomes the Predator and humans are the hunted.

The installation is entirely hand painted. The walls are paneled with painted paper. The floor is painted on Tyvek. The bench recycled from a former sculpture made of fiber glass, painted to match the installation.

You can read the review on this show by Bret McCabe for Baltimore City Paper:
On Separating Hunter From Prey in Phaan Howng's Wryly Subversive Installation Wonders
City Paper Top Ten Art Shows 2016

Eulogies to the Present Past

This is a delegated performance where I invited attendees of Eulogies to the Present Past to write a poem about death, the Anthropocene, climate change, the end of the world, and more, and then recite it in my installation, Biological Controls: If It Bleeds We Can Kill It. The poetry reading was followed by karaoke to sad songs. Readers were required to wear a Tyvek suit painted in the same pattern to camouflage themselves into the space.

The readings and karaoke were transmitted from the installation to the audience on a television set up downstairs in the basement of School 33. Bloody Mary's were also served.

Painting and Sculpture Installations

A sampling of painting and sculpture installations.
All paintings are created on paper.

  • Re:Art Show View

    Installation View of my paintings for Re:Art Show in Pfizer Building, Brooklyn, NY
  • Re:Art Show View III

    Installation View of "Suffering In Silence; Go On Home" at Re:Art Show, Pfizer Building, Brooklyn, NY
  • Lovin' End Lies; End of Understanding

    Lovin' End Lies; End of Understanding 2016 98"x120" Acrylic and acrylic gouache on paper
  • Biological Controls I

    Biological Controls I 2016 108"x55" Acrylic, acrylic gouache, spray paint on paper
  • SufferingInSilence; Go On Home

    Suffering In Silence; Go On Home 2016 96"x144" Acrylic, acrylic gouache on paper
  • Landscape No. 586-Lamentation

    Window display installation at Current Space, 2016
  • Tumuli

    Installation shot of Tumuli, for the group show Devil May Care, 2016 Acrylic, acrylic gouache, spray paint, colored sand and plaster.
  • Interpretation of Events.jpg

    98"x120" acrylic gouache on paper 2014
  • The Deep

    Painting: 120"x180" Acrylic, acrylic gouache, and spray paint on paper 2015 Walls: acrylic and spray paint on paper Floors: Painted concrete, tinted plaster rocks Space dimensions: 14'w, 20'd, 15'h

Connect with Phaan

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Phaan's Curated Collection

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