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  • Charles Yuen: Psychographic
  • 3


    Complete archive, 1999-present


    Life Along Denial in Charles Yuen: Psychographic
    Life Along Denial

    Surreal stories

    New Primitive paintings by Charles Yuen in "Psychographic" mine the subconscious in dreamlike imagery.


    Children invite invisible friends for picnics and adolescents embrace danger to explore their personal fables. Charles Yuen reflects a montage of childhood memories, in works that are enigmatic in their meanings. His imagery circulates around themes of identity, sexuality, and estrangement. I might say that Yuen's project is to exorcize his armor in a dreamlike land of darkened reminiscences that depict 'the world as a reproduction of the I.' Autobiographical types, men who appear to be father figures and an occasional female figure, are thrown into action by supporting props of baubles and globes, dice and ribbons, nets and galaxies.

    Exhibition: Psychographic.
    Paintings by: Charles Yuen.
    May 19 - June 19, 2004
    Opening reception: May 19, 2004, 6-9

    Gallery: Metaphor
    382 Atlantic Avenue
    Brooklyn NY
    Phone: (718) 254-9126

    Yuen's style is in a Primitive vein, which allows him to keep his imagery purposefully and staunchly iconic. His figures are as immobile as they are placeless, and suspended on fields of visceral color. They may be dressed in the traditional Chinese garb of jacket and loose fitting pants and slippers, staring and mute, with elbowless and elongated arms, and often with hands that cannot grasp. So to say that Yuen portrays 'dramas' would be a misnomer. As in "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint Exupery, this series of paintings make me think about the nature of love in matters of consequence, in a world of lost innocence and sin. In his art then, Yuen takes on the role of the perpetual child as witness.

    Oceanicish in Charles Yuen: Psychographic  
    A painting like "Men and Bugs" brings to mind Magritte's idea of 'truth' as visual conundrum. Two suited men in a bowler hats lightly touch an assortment of fluttering butterflies, bees and dragonflies. Affixed to their jackets are doorways from which the insects have emerged. Their formal dress contrasts with the lighthearted activity, and while the image isn't exactly a visual pun, it evokes a sense of contradiction.

    "Well of Tears" evokes a more somber mood, in which a statuesque apparition stands in foreground holding two of those paper umbrellas that come with mixed beverages. Next to him in a darkened night space, bubbles float below a constellation of blindfolded heads. This piece could allude to the shocking strangeness of immigrant landing where native traditions are suddenly dismissed, or alternately to the transient theater of tourism, or perhaps to the mapping of a god in the midnight skies. So that Yuen's method of withholding explicit meaning, allows for several possible readings.

      Well of Tears in Charles Yuen: Psychographic
      Well of Tears
    Dotting this series are camp motifs he uses the way a playwright throws bits of comic relief into a drama. The weighty paintings need lighthearted elements, but reliance on such predigested imagery doesn't quite silhouette Yuen's larger intentions. The process in which he throws down a gauntlet of facades in order to unmask them is what drives his imagery of impasse, within a limited, but strongly felt emotive range.

    JUNE 1, 2004

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  • Map of God   from Jackson Sherwood, Aug 8, 2004

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