Red Eye, White Fur
Yarn, acrylic on canvas
40″ x 30″ x 0.5″
Acrylic paint on paper mache
13″ x 13″ x 11″
Yarn, barbed wires, illustration on canvas
36″ x 150″
Acrylic paint, embroidery on canvas
20″ x 24″
48″ x 24″
Illustration, threads on BFA paper
6.5″ x 6.5″ x 1.5″
Soft Biter is a body of on-going work that provides me with opportunities to revisit my memories through art. Growing up as a small gay boy who had buckteeth with braces, I was called “rabbit” and a victim from school bullying. People label others based on the social standards set by others. The standards shift in different places and different cultures, yet it is ignorant to judge or harm a person based on social standards. In my experience, “good” people do evil things, and “evil” people have done good things. The standard of “good” and “evil” is easily impacted by the mass population’s conventional wisdom and constantly changes.
This installation presents a mixed media painting hanging against the edge of the ceiling along with other objects set in space. A river made of yarn pom-poms falls from above and floods into space. It is a river of memories, and the pom-poms can be read as the fur from the rabbit, or as a carrier of memories. Two paintings of the boy-rabbit character in the white and red background are meant to imply the two sides of one human being, to remind the audiences of the contrast between good and evil. The pom-pom objects are the evidence of me seeking acceptance. The handmade pom-pom was significant because it was the gift I gave to others in the hope to gain the emotion of belonging. I also created a mixed media book that contains more messages and narratives to enrich the emotions of the audience’s experience of Soft Biter. Along with these elements, I intend to make an environment surrounded by expression, memories, and emotions, for audiences to sense the mixture and contradictions of my experiences and emotions.
Red and white are symbolic colors. They have different implications in different scenarios and cultures. In western culture, red is often recognized as anger, warning, things that contain dangers, and white symbolizes purity, holiness, and innocence; yet in my context within China, red is a color of celebration, happiness, and power, but white is often used for death, loss, and solemn mourning. Both colors have different or opposing meanings in different contexts. This makes it difficult to communicate a clear meaning for what they are intended to symbolize in my work.
Originally, this body of work was a discussion of the good and evil within one individual; however, I see now that this body of work is about living in the world as an individual dealing with complicated social structures and relationships, and about weaving my the different connections and memories together to seek a sense of identity by breaking down the social standard yet retain the moral standard. By reviewing the past, it allows me to observe and analyze the parts that I was not aware of at the time in order to give psychological closure. The memories of the past still come back subconsciously though I am in a totally different position, place, and time now, however, the old memories have shaped my personality and ways of thinking.