I question; am I an unreliable narrator or an invalidated one? My work welcomes the viewer into my escapist, coming-of-age recollection. Ruminating on gender biases, identity crises, imposter syndromes, and social statuses, the figure becomes a cynical and satirical mockery. The body plays with perception, aware of the gaze, voyeuristic fantasies and challenging the Asian monolith. A series of fortunate events presents in fleeting playfulness but soon stumbles into pessimism. My paintings critique the socio-political circumstances of the western world to reckon with the subliminal effects on the Asian femme.
“The process of viewing another as consumable, as something, is usually invisible to us. Its invisibility occurs because it corresponds to the view of the dominant culture. The process is also invisible to use because the end product of the process - the object of consumption - is available everywhere.”
-Carol J Adams
I implement symbolism that references whitewashing, consumerism, and patriarchy, to understand my own subjectivity. I relate these concepts towards my history and positionality to highlight the irony between consumerist products, pop-culture aesthetics, racial, gendered, and global issues.
Placed into a vibrant trickery of idyllic settings from childhood and adolescence, the large-scale paintings immerse the viewer into auto-ethnography. The depiction of Asian femmes taking up unsympathetic space are placed into the political landscape of the West Coast. I reference Jin Me Yoon’s work to understand and question who belongs when we have an “In-between” identity? The figures challenge the land they occupy, complicit yet troubled by the colonial land that they settle on. The Asian femme is faced with navigating the intersections of their identity, fluctuating between the oppressed and the oppressor. I reference and pay recognition to the influential Asian artists that come before me; Yue Minjun, Amanda Ba, Sasha Gordon, Jin Me Yoon, and Zeng Fanzhi. Transgressive, I personify the different aspects of the similar-statured figure to understand the historical context of Chinese culture and history critiquing the idea of the “liberated individual”. I bounce off Yue Minjun’s conceptual use of duplicated selves and exaggerated facial expressions.
Intense hues of colour emulate the feelings of a place that is unnaturally fabricated. High school nostalgia becomes a vexed reflection of a superego turning to self internalization equalling a fragmented originality, bittersweet. Confrontationally resentful, my subjects become a self sabotaging machine, unable to trust one another and the circumstances around them.
I illustrate how animals and women are similar in the way society conditions them; they are commodified and brutalized, raped and killed. Carol J Adam’s theory in her study of, “The Sexual Politics of Meat” argues animals and women’s oppression are linked through male dominance in meat-eating and dairy production. Food consumption and speciesism are inseparable. Nothing connects climate change, economic inequality, animal rights, worker justice, racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism together like food. Feminist theory logically contains a vegan critique, just as veganism secretly challenges patriarchal society. Tension arises with differing cultural norms and importance in meat eating from East Asia and North America. In my work, I am grappling with the moral implications of meat consumption and authenticity as an Asian person.