About the Work
We’re pleased to announce Rescuing a Damsel in Distress (2023) by Yesiyu Zhao, a new hand-finished series of 15. One of our 2023 select Artists On The Rise, Zhao’s first solo exhibition at Harper’s, titled Wanderers, opened this past weekend in East Hampton, New York. Zhao’s unique print series is based on their painting of the same name, exhibited earlier this year at Make Room (Los Angeles) during Frieze Week. Zhao hand-finished each print over a period of several months, using acrylic paint atop archival pigment on 300gsm cotton rag paper to alter the individual compositions, resulting in a dimensional body of work that reflects the artist’s talented eye for transformation. “Growing up, before I came to America, I remember my dad showing me classic Western movies. Typically, they’d include the heroic cowboy saving the damsel in distress. This cinematic trope has ingrained itself into gender roles of society, becoming the status quo. In this painting, I reconfigured these traditional symbols, challenging the fixed image of gender presentation. The cowboy and the damsel are now non-binary Chinese opera stars; the cowboy’s archetypal horse has become my lion. The original work (Rescuing a Damsel in Distress, 2023, oil on linen, 30.00 x 60.00 in / 76.20 x 152.40 cm) was painted onto a surface designed in the shape of a Chinese fan. Traditionally, fans feature drawings of Chinese watercolor landscapes, flowers, or words. I heightened the work's feminine tone by using overtly pink hues, and replaced the landscape with a giant Beijing opera face (specifically 花旦 beauty) to serve as the sublime background, framed by wavy hair and the figure’s all-encompassing presence. For the print series, I wanted to transform each work significantly, bringing light to multiple compositional choices. From palette to facial expression, the medium and format allowed me to explore multiple ideas and scenarios within the fan concept.” — Yesiyu Zhao
Yesiyu Zhao has held solo exhibitions at Harper’s (East Hampton), Make Room (Los Angeles), and David Castillo Gallery (Miami). Select group exhibitions include presentations at Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, OH), Harper’s (Los Angeles), and David Castillo Gallery. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Authentication & Resale
Signed and numbered by the artist en verso. This work is also accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity signed and numbered by Exhibition A.
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