18 July - 15 August 2013
Opening Reception: 18 July
547 W 27th St #4
New York, NY
Opening Reception: 12 July
I remember identifying myself as “other” because “Asian” wasn’t available in a list of checkboxes. I remember the year “other” disappeared, replaced with a choice for “Asian” but its appearance always came with a neighboring word, becoming the category, “Asian/Pacific Islander.” The act of choosing Other still haunts my negotiation over my self-representation.
My photography is about the self in self-portrait, the portrait in self-portrait, and the hyphen in self-portrait. I work with the language of self-portraiture as a way to inquire about my own otherness. This vernacular ties in larger forces at play such as the notions of performance, masculinity, and power while speaking of themes dealing with race, regional identity, and sexuality. My pictures are not always exclusive to my presence in front of the camera, subverting the “artist as protagonist” aesthetic, thus questioning my role between as a protagonist and supporting character.
I find representation is a form of desire, always struggling to give visual form to one’s self-presentation. Through self-portraiture, I see a currency that deals not with foreignness but with an uncanny influence prescribing preconceived ideals of difference. There is still an occurrence of Yellowface in Hollywood cinema, a lack of Asian male characters in mainstream media, a removal of acknowledgment of the South’s racial history, a minimal amount of gay men playing gay roles in a positive light, and even an absence of strong gay characters in comic books. These are some of the variables that shape the perception of my desire for cohesion within myself. There is the inability to reconcile external forces at work—such as ethnic obligations and societal conformity—with one’s own identity. It is akin to the disjuncture between the photographic portraiture in describing reality and its artificial staging that leaves the self and other unsettled. Not particularly straight photography, and not specifically staged pictures, my photographs are bicurious.