Dominique Fung

Dominique Fung

Matrilineality, 2019 — Oil on Canvas — 60 x 72 in

Tobacco, 2021

Tobacco, 2021  — Found Chinese bird cage, ceramic, tassels  —  15.5 x 9 x 9 in

My work focuses on the inquiries into the human condition of untold stories of peoples, beings, bodies and objects. I think often about self-made mythologies and how I can interrogate and investigate past untold histories, traumas, liberations and experiences.

—  Dominique Fungs's quote about the stories she's trying to tell with her paintings on "Dominique Fung's Paintings Modernize Traditions", by Maria Vogel on Art of Choice. 2019.

Dominique Fung

I'd Tell You a Story but You Won't Listen. 2017. Image from artist's website.

Edward Said in his book “Orientalism,” defines the word as the West’s patronizing representation of “The East.” At its core, it’s a deliberate oversimplification of a group of people othered by the West in which they are reduced into trops, stereotypes and over-exaggerated characterizations as a way to assert dominance.

Through her paintings, Dominque reclaims the Orientalist-narratives ascribed to Asian, and in particular Asian women’s bodies, stories, and icons by shining a light towards the exoticized gaze of the West as they forge new lives of their own. Cultural artifacts like statues or vessels are rendered alive and in the present through surrealist transformations. Suggestive transformations bring feelings of needs, desires, and stories beyond being stoic cultural tropes.

In “Matrilineality,” Dominique takes the unusual step of rendering the female figure directly in the flesh. No longer faceless or made of porcelain, she looms larger than life as the world unfolds around her. Water cloaks her as it unfurls amongst peaches and porcelain vessels, both of which are recurring feminine symbols in her practice, while other women make passage of her dress. Another figure emerges too in the background being offered a breast to sustain itself as if a benevolent gift. All the while, the central female figure rests calmly and self-assured, emboldened by her control of the environment instead of rendered powerless because of it.

It is a powerful representation of the Asian woman in it’s direct contrast to Orientalist views of a subservient type that feels more akin to the matriarchal homes many Asians (ourselves included) truly experience.


Installation shots of Dominique's show at Jeffrey Deitch, "It's Not Polite to Stare". Photos by Cooper Dodds and Genevieve Hanson 

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