Yowshien Kuo

At first glance, Yowshien’s painting may seem not entirely unlike the Americana paintings that have adorned suburbian abodes since childhood. The adornment of the frame, to the cowboy hat, and picturesque landscapes are elements most Americans are familiar with. But to take a step closer, one can see not is all that we have come to normally associate with such scenes. 

In "Slipped in Hope," the cowboy is Chinese, so too are the boy scouts, and all are dark-skinned with the exception of the provocatively posed female. The incongruity challenges the viewer to consider with a flurry of questions. What place do these bodies have in what is typically referenced in solidly white narratives? What place do these dark-skinned Asians have where light skin is often the dominant reference in mainstream media? What of the woman, an object of desire because of her exocitisized body or her proximity to whiteness? 

The scene meanwhile unfurls with a mixture of comedy and tragedy. Guns are drawn in every corner, punches are thrown, amorphous faces leer and jeer, the Asian woman has cowboy boots on. You are left to ponder, to laugh, cry, and reflect on the many conscious and unconscious biases that we negotiate living in America.  

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Y — A — 2020