Oscar yi Hou

QUEER OUT T/HERE (NYC, Feb-May 2021)

February 26 - May 1, 2021

Tong Art Advisory is pleased to present QUEER OUT T/HERE, a group exhibition curated in collaboration with artist Oscar yi Hou, on view February 26 - May 1, 2021. QUEER OUT T/HERE combines the works of nine artists, Amanda Ba, Tseng Kwong Chi, Louis Fratino, Dominique Fung, Oscar yi Hou, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Kenneth Tam, Lily Wong, and Martin Wong, who examine the condition of “otherness” across overlapping lines of queerness and/or East Asian identity. The exhibition grapples with the often fraught perspectives felt by those situated both inside and outside— here and there.

Works by the artists Amanda Ba and Lily Wong respond to the overdetermining forces of Orientalism and fetishism of the Yellow female form, using the painted figure as a site of opposition, resistance and critique. In Dominique Fung’s work, this tension plays out in the uncanny relationship between the still-life of inanimate objects and the soft curves of the feminine form.

A similar dialogue permeates Oscar yi Hou’s work, employing symbols of Western culture, tableaus filled with sheriff stars, cowboy hats, and Christian crosses, placed against sometimes recognizable, sometimes inscrutable cultural forms of the Far East. In his scroll painting, Martin Wong utilizes a similar hybridization of East/West, melding the graffiti of 1960’s Downtown New York with traditional Chinese calligraphic scrolls.

This tension underpins Tseng Kwong Chi’s work, featuring the artist satirically and performatively deploying very Eastern cultural forms (by wearing a Mao suit), playfully and wittily juxtaposing this with recognizably American cultural forms (such as the Statue of Liberty.) He plays with the idea of the ‘perpetual foreigner’ that Yellow people must face, by inhabiting such a figure in order to expose its contingency and ridiculousness. The photographs of Paul Mpagi Sepuya present another duality; in this case, his work centers around queer identity subverting the expectations and implications of traditional portraiture.

QUEER OUT T/HERE illuminates the queer figurative tradition, distilling and reflecting some of the central themes of visual code-shifting experienced by others in any culture held loosely together in a complex diaspora.