Thursday, December 10, 2009

Stacey Williams-Ng - Status Update Paintings

Facebook is known for its large collection of user updates and picture galleries, but artist Stacey Williams-Ng has added another dimension to this collection of media with her series of “Status Update Paintings”. Williams-Ng takes random status updates she finds on Facebook and then creates an oil painting based on how she interprets the message.

The fascinating aspect of her work comes from the interpretation and new context she puts the text in. In the piece “Molly E. is Hot for Robert Frost”, we see a girl looking longingly out the window while she reads, presumably, Robert Frost. The text has been turned for slightly risqué to one of longing. Williams-Ng’s work gives a deeper identity to these updates, asking us to look beyond the text and imagine the person on the other side.

Year(s) Created:

Media: Oil Painting, Canavs

Artist Statement

Stacey Williams-Ng has been actively drawing and painting since her early youth. A native of Memphis, Tenn., she pursued part of her fine arts studies in France, at the Université de Haute Bretagne (Rennes II). In 1995, she obtained her BFA in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis with a specialty in Graphic Design. After graduation, she and her husband moved to Singapore, where Stacey became a multimedia design instructor at the LaSalle College of Fine Arts. After several years, the young family moved to Chicago, where she launched an active career in graphic design. She is considered a specialist in interactive branding, and has been in senior design and creative directing roles for web-based media since 1996.

Her fifteen years of graphic design deeply influence the formal qualities of her paintings, as strongly as her travel and life experiences mark her subject matter.

Williams-Ng (pronounced “Ung”) is currently pursuing a new series in which the paintings are a response to the significance of social media, and in particular, to status updates. Status updates are a mainstay of social applications like Twitter and Facebook. Users are invited to regularly publish their answers to the question “What are you doing right now?”

Responses (or status updates), which are confined to a character limit, then show up on the pages of the member’s friends. The result is a sort of collaborative poem, in which everyone’s posts are visible, and equal to one another in emphasis.

In these heavily textured oil paintings, figures are seen performing mundane tasks, such as cooking pancakes or reading (“Molly E. is hot for Robert Frost,” pictured at left) while other more quixotic pieces contain no explicit narrative other that the status update that inspired it, such as the peculiar “Rafiq A. Spring…the end of my winter of discontent or just the next pithy chapter?”

Stacey’s artwork has been featured in Emerge magazine, Milwaukee Home & Fine Living Magazine, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and, and she has been the recipient of several awards and honors.

Exhibition History

Underwood Gallery, Milwaukee Wisconsin

"Status Update Paintings" have been available online since 2009 at the following website.

Image Sources

Williams-Ng, Stacey. Eve Y. Wants Pie. Stacey Williams-Ng. Web. 10 Dec. 2009.

Williams-Ng, Stacey. Molly E. is Hot For Robert Frost. Stacey Williams-Ng. Web. 10 Dec. 2009.

Williams-Ng, Stacey. Tony R. Could Have Died a Superhero, But Instead He Lived to Be the Villain. Stacey Williams-Ng. Web. 10 Dec. 2009.


Cashmore, Pete. "Facebook Status Updates Become Works of Art." 26 Apr. 2009. Web. 10 Dec. 2009.

Schumacher, Mary L. "Artist Turns Facebook Updates into Oil Paintings." JS Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 25 Apr. 2009. Web. 10 Dec. 2009.

Williams-Ng, Stacey. "Stacey Williams-Ng Background." Stacey Web. 10 Dec. 2009.

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