Shu-Ju Wang, “Phlebotomy of a Pie”

Clamshell box, cloth-covered and painted with acrylic.


Inside the opened clamshell box; interior of box painted with acrylic.


View of interior page with painted rose thorns, knotted cotton thread, shell bead, ink drawing.


View of interior page with painted medical supply, cotton thread, rubber stamped text, acrylic and ink drawing.


View of interior page with rubber stamped text.


Artist: Shu-Ju Wang (Portland, OR)

Title: Phlebotomy of a Pie (2013)

Medium/technique(s): Gouache, acrylic, ink, rubber stamp, cotton thread, shell beads, medical supplies on Nepal Light & Taiwanese Mulberry paper; cloth-covered clamshell box

Edition size: Unique work

Number of pages: 22

Dimensions, open: 11″ H x 32″ W x 1.5″ D

Dimensions, closed: 11″ H x 16″ W x 1.5″ D


Artist Statement:

Phlebotomy of a Pie is part of an on-going body of work about our relationship with food.  The series addresses concerns such as how food impacts our health, how the cultivations of food impacts our environment, how ‘group think’ impacts our choices, and finally, how food has become the new identity issue of contemporary American culture. Created over a span of 12 years, the series now comprises of 4 artist’s books and 12 paintings.

In a narrative of desire vs. restrain, Phlebotomy of a Pie seduces you with the beauty and deliciousness of a well made pie. Its luscious filling, bubbling underneath, overflows a crust decorated and baked to a buttery flakiness. It makes your life the epitome of perfection at the very moment you take a bite.

Phlebotomy, to incise into a vein. Like incising into the top of the pie crust to allow the steam to escape during baking. Phlebotomist, a specialist trained in drawing venous blood for medical tests. Starting with the preparation of the pie crust, the viewer is quickly confronted with the health consequences of consuming too much deliciousness.

For a multitude of reasons, we are developing food related illnesses at a very high rate. Although Phlebotomy of a Pie has its start from a personal perspective, it speaks of a universal need to feed ourselves in a more thoughtful and restrained manner.