ARTIST STATEMENT ABOUT THE WORK

I certainly hope that the works in my “Eye-con” series have a good deal of aesthetic, sensual, and visceral appeal, and it was a pleasure on all of those levels to plan and produce them. However, I also think of them on an intellectual level, that is, I also see these works in cultural terms, and more specifically, as my commentary on the ever-shifting constellation of icons that form idealized Western conceptions of Asian-ness.  While the color red, for instance, is indeed a somewhat prominent presence in some Asian settings, Westerners often overemphasize it in their ideas of what Asia is like; they often do the same with other supposed aspects of Asian people’s lives. Because the color red is so quick to leap into iconic status for the Western mind in its conceptions of exotic Asian-ness — are “Chinese” restaurants largely responsible for this? — the rather overwhelming redness of these pieces symbolizes for me other false (yet standardized) facets of the “Orientalist” mindset. Viewers will make whatever they will of these paintings, of course. But when they want to listen to my explanation of how I see them, I say that they’re all a part of my ongoing effort as a woman who came here from Korea to explain that “Oriental” isn’t the right word for anybody anymore, thank you, and that I never actually thought of myself as “Asian” until I came here, and that now I am, in more accurate terms, a Korean American (and one who also really appreciates it when people take the time to learn how to properly pronounce my name). So, about that color, red. I want it to predominate in this series so fully that it obscures perception of potential imagery — landscaped, mountainous scenery, sunsets, birds (or are they eyes?), townscapes, and so on. I want to suggest, then, that when the inner Western “eye” turns to “the East” (which, when you think about it, is actually to the West of America), it can be conned into a certain blindness if it has not unlearned that which it likes to think it knows.

The series, "Interpellation," continues the fingerprint motif of Distemporal Deliverance of a Sentence; the episode of giving my prints to the authorities here when I became a citizen still haunts me.  Every fingerprint is unique, yet our prints attest to our "citizenship," our membership in a community of supposedly similar people.  Authority has also attached tense, anxiety-inducing associations to the act of pressing our fingers and thumbs to a surface. We extend our outstretched hands and they are grasped by other hands, which take from us the marks of our selves.

ABOUTRESUMEGALLERY