YESIYU ZHAO

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Q: Tell us about your practice

A: As a Chinese immigrant living in America, I am inspired by the histories and legacies of the two countries, and view my art as an apparatus to subvert societal conventions and uplift those who are considered as Other.

Specifically, my work explores the intersection and morphing of different identities through the usage of certain cultural motifs such as body hair and high heels.

Q: Can you talk about your current figurative approach?

A: Figures have always been there; they were just more disguised in my older paintings. In my more recent works, I decided to bring them to the foreground. Metaphorically, these marginalized characters don't hide from societal judgment anymore and can thrive in the utopian worlds that I create.

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Q: our work consists of a few recurring motifs like body hair, legs, and high heels. Can you talk about the thought behind these motifs and their juxtaposition within your work?

A: I juxtapose motifs like facial and leg hair, high heels, and makeup in my paintings to overturn the conventional aesthetic and gender binary. By humanizing the multitude of selves that one person can contain, I try to acknowledge the intersectional desire to be seen and understood.

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Q: What's been inspiring you?

A: Recently, I have been watching old movies by Wong Kar-Wai, such as In the Mood for Love.

Wong captured 1960s Shanghai through shots of small alleys and tiny apartments. Through the vivid, dreamy atmosphere, the lust, tension, and despair between the two main characters are even further accentuated. Like Wong, I hope to create evocative settings that bring the characters in my paintings to life.

COLLECTOR'S QUOTE

“Yesiyu concocts intriguing scenes that are both alien and familiar - forms and colours clash, motifs contradict one another. His brush may be sketchy and spontaneous, but the more you look, the more apparent it becomes what a remarkably thoughtful artist he is. The work is a high-impact union of age-old Chinese iconography and a sprouting expression of the self. It’s camp and unapologetic, but above all, it’s authentic.”

ED TANG

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The Here and There Collective, LLC is a New York limited-liability company operating through a fiscal sponsorship with Players Philanthropy Fund, a Maryland charitable trust recognized by IRS as a tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Federal Tax ID: 27-6601178). Contributions to The Here and There Collective are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.