The exhibition brings together a selection of highly symbolic and quasi-autobiographical paintings that draw from American and Chinese histories, as well as the artist’s personal experiences, to lay bare, examine, and question the positioning of queer people and of those considered foreign or Other within the West.
These works are pervaded by recurring imageries of Chinese soldiers who express queer love, individuals whose clothing defies gender norms, and disobedient bodies that fragment beyond understanding. Taken together, these works prod at the anxieties of living in a world that does not fully embrace certain identities nor acknowledge the multitudes that can be contained within one person.
The shifting nature of identity, and its capacity for redefinition, are at the center of Zhao’s practice. Yesiyu Zhao (b. 1991, Suichang, Zhejian Province, China) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. The artist received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts (2018) and an MFA from SUNY Purchase College (2020).