Ev Yu's Wiggle Room


“Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.”
― Wendy Flynn

Ev Yu Laugo (1990) is a visual artist and zine maker based in the Philippines. Yu who is recognized for her watercolor works, dives headfirst into a new medium in "The Wiggle Room."

There is a sense of liberation in trying something new while leaving space for one to not meet
expectations, even from their own self. The series of works was made in a period when the artist was
introduced to painting with oils. And she shares, "I enjoyed having to experience a childlike ambition
again. The lack of familiarity with technique leaves room to play with ideas and limitations."

The Wiggle Room tackles the lack of space that one allows oneself to have in moments of
uncertainty. Like in any beginning, there is a lot of uncertainty. She likens this experience to "being
placed in an unfamiliar situation and having a flurry of choices." And this collection of works where
plenty of fluid gestures using oil looks like the visualization of the saying “getting your feet wet”.

The artists ponder on the less visible parts of one's trajectory in mastering a skill or building a good
image. She focuses on rarely documented parts of one's journey that include changing to conform to
other’s expectations as explored in her Wake up, Man series; Trying to make do with limited experience
that is touched on in the work “Limited Tool Bar”; And the internal turmoil that is explicated in “The Guard will get you” that alludes to the insecure thoughts that are often kept in private.

Society often puts pressure on beginners. It's so easy to box them into categories of being either bad or
unremarkable. It often leads hopeful novices to act out performative gestures that present them in a
good light. This is tackled in several of her works namely "Pond Life", "Required Detour", and
"Dimensions of Escape."

Ev Yu "Reducing The Puzzle" 24 x 24 inches oil on canvas 2023

Even though The Wiggle Room exposes the less glamorous parts of one’s path to progress, it highlights
the quiet kindness afforded to oneself when they give themselves permission to fail or simply try. This is highlighted in the piece de resistance "Reducing the Puzzle."

This opportunity to showcase Yu’s exploration into oil as a medium is like sharing an honest moment
with the viewers. A reassuring reminder that regardless of where one is in their journey, everything
turns out okay, especially when you direct your energy towards something that drives you.

Despite the change in medium, Yu stays authentic to her design language, using abstract idiosyncratic
sequential imagery much like what one would expect out of a visual diary or graphic novel.

Text by Marz Aglipay

This show was on view at Galerie Stephanie from February 9-23, 2023. See the works here.


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