Recent SoVA grad explores gender stereotypes in downtown State College exhibit

With Leo Wang’s fourth solo exhibition, “Faux Venus,” the visual artist and recent Penn State graduate with degrees in sculpture and landscape architecture explores modern pop culture and the “artificial personas” developed through regular use of social media.

3 Dots, an organization in downtown State College that promotes local arts while cultivating innovative, inclusive experiences, is hosting the exhibit until July 19. “Faux Venus” is the organization’s first show since reopening in early June.

The exhibit comprises 13 mixed-media sculptures that Wang calls his “babies,” each one existing as a unique way for him to explore gender stereotypes, body image and sexuality.

“The pieces represent not just me as a goddess, but all of us as our own goddess and how on social media things can easily become fake or faux,” Wang said. “The pieces also represent the planet Venus and hopefully remind us that we are little stars in the galaxy, and we are all shining.”

Originally from China, Wang finished high school in Florida before coming to Penn State in 2016 with no specific educational path in mind. Driven by an appreciation and love for art, he enrolled in Art 230, a beginning sculpture course, and he immediately knew that he found his calling.

With support from his mentors within the College of Arts and Architecture, Wang also chose to major in landscape architecture, which he said allowed him to apply his visual artistic vision to a more structured field.

“I’m so grateful to the Landscape Architecture department because the courses influenced my visual art in so many ways, and I felt very encouraged to explore both majors,” Wang said. “The two majors combined my work and will allow me to design public art spaces where more people can see my, and other’s art.”

After the conclusion of the show, Wang will move to Chicago to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

“This has been a great way for me to end my time here,” Wang said. “I’m looking forward to growing as an artist in Chicago, but I will always be grateful to Penn State.”