From the exhibition, Faculty Acquisitions, February 26, 2021 - May 29, 2022
Diagram IX and Diagram X comprise two smooth, multi-colored and abstract shelves that have been hand-sanded from Aqua-Resin, a water-based sculpting material used for casting and moulding. Nestled into each meticulously rendered sculpture is a clear globular sphere that appears viscous and unstable, the surface of the shelves reactant to its presence.
Describing human skin as the ‘plasticine of our psyche”-- both a surface and a container for racialization-- artist Jes Fan pushes the boundaries of how the presence or absence of melanin, for example, is conceived, measured, and valued throughout society. Trained as a glass-blower, Fan investigates the tactility of the body’s surface through his work with Aqua-Resin.
I approach my art-making as a language: thinking about how color can act like grammar, with each indentation suggesting a pause in your eye, and in your trajectory of looking. For instance, I love juxtaposing things that are slippery and soft with something very angular. It’s a game of seduction in a way: I want to pull you into these beautiful things but, at the same time, these beautiful things hold inside abject materials such as melanin generated from Ecoli, semen, blood, and so on. These are the things that will make you pause because you're not just confronted by beauty (or what we consider beauty), you’re confronted by the sublime of it. So, the beauty in my work is hand-in-hand with the grotesque.
- Jes Fan
These artworks were selected by Ren-yo Hwang, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies and Critical Social Thought.