Chris Yuda, Deborah’s Winter
January 25 – March 11, 2019
Opening Reception: Fri. January 25, 7-9pm
Custom Program is pleased to present Deborah’s Winter, a new installation by Chris Yuda, spanning the main gallery and the project space. Yuda presents a video work alongside new paintings that explore the position of the Asian-American male within the framework of western masculine culture. This work employs a series of seemingly self-abasing gestures that remain nevertheless humorously self-aware.
His paintings examine the language that is shared between painting and the stereotype of the feminine Asian American male, through the usage of words such as casual, child-like, fragile, or awkward. Eschewing common fine art materials, Yuda sources supplies from bargain stores such as the Dollar General in order to uplift the common association between contemporary fine arts and higher education, money, status, and privileged social contexts. He often uses “free” materials such as copy paper and tape from the supply room at the Belk College of Business, located within the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where his mother teaches economics. These seemingly contradictory gestures – favoring “low” materials, but sourcing them from an institution – expose a complicated relationship between the frugal environments occupied by many immigrant families, and the associations made between Asian Americans, higher education, the study of business, mathematics, and economics.
In his video entitled Joke is Love in Magdalena, one observes the relationship between a woman and an anthropomorphized painting, which takes form as an unflattering portrait. The painting embodies both the painter and the painted, a metaphor for being caught within involuntary self-representations through imposed cultural codes. The scenes unfold in a silent moving image, where viewers are left to consider the body language between the painting and female character through gaps in conversation, and how both characters negotiate their fondness for one another.