Over the course of five years, I was determined to uncover my family’s fraught history in China. By inserting personal photographs into the broad, positive narrative of Chinese propaganda posters, I sought to integrate the specific, personal experiences of my family into this generic lexicon and to capture it in a singular canvas, so unlike a mass-produced poster. I drew on the posters’ iconography of agricultural bounty and Maoist utopia—the bright, false propaganda of an oppressive regime. Propaganda is effective because people don’t look closely enough. Through strange juxtapositions and manipulations of scale, I invited active viewing. Whereas the posters told people what to see, I wanted to change the way they look by refusing to articulate a clear message. These oil paintings were exhibited and sold in numerous galleries, including Kenyon College’s Gund Gallery and City Bird Gallery in NYC.
Bravery and Grace Go Hand in Hand
To think is to think too much