February 17 – March 18, 2006
Opening reception: February 16, 6-8 pm
Danese is pleased to announce its first exhibition of paintings and drawings by Su-en Wong. The exhibition will open to the public on February 17 continuing through March 18.
In her bold and erotically charged paintings, Su-en Wong stages an elaborate theater of the self – her self – that performs and challenges notions of identity formation via the conventional channels of nationality, race, gender, adolescence, costume, and sexuality. If her panels are stages and her figures are players upon it, then the dramas of her scenes must be parodic comedies – rated X. They are filled with the coy flirtations, sensual caresses, and suggestive poses of a reminiscing grown-up Lolita. The figures wrap themselves in the garb of childhood innocence (youthful nudity, plaid schoolgirl uniforms, and skimpy athletic gear) but they tease and titillate each other (and the viewer) with enactments of adult sexual fantasies. As much as her figures brazenly expose her nakedness, they expose the absurdity of the Asian schoolgirl myth as an exotic, pornographic stereotype for Western consumption.
Wong’s large-scale paintings verge on the panoramic, measuring 6 x 10 feet on average. Within these broad monochromatic fields, is an array of imagery – the human figure, plant life, rock formations, bodies of water – painstakingly and meticulously drawn in colored pencil. Taking her titles from commercial paint chips – “Colonial Cream,” “Limelight,” and “Blue Pride,” among others – she draws attention to the narratives each title evokes. Thus, in Colonial Cream, identical girls wearing school uniforms and Indian headbands fall in line behind their leader, who sports a brilliant, ornamental headdress against the unbroken expanse of a pale beige ground.
Wong’s graphite on paper drawings also examine the artist’s subtext of "playground politics" – body image, social hierarchy, the simultaneous desire to conform and rebel. With their modest scale, these beautifully articulated black and white drawings allow for quiet intimacy and reflection.
Born in Singapore in 1973, Wong came to the United States at the age of sixteen. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute Chicago. She has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Canada, most recently with a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas. Wong lives and works in Brooklyn.
For further information, please call Carol Corey or Kate Pentkowski at 212/223-2227.