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"Facing West/Looking East"
Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, California
Recommendation by Cathy Breslaw


Liz Rossof, ''Red Mickey Mouse,'' 2012, terra cotta and spray paint, foreground of ''Facing West/Looking East,'' installation view.

 

Continuing through January 13, 2013

 

"Facing West/Looking East," curated by Richard Turner, examines the art and issues of California’s Asian American communities through drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, installation and video. Several artists stand out, starting with Bari Kumar, a painter who grew up partly in post-colonial India and partly in the U.S. Kumar deftly superimposes Hindu yantras over images of classical western figure painting. Aragna Ker, who is Cambodian, contributes a large wooden sculpture, titled “Dracula’s Castle,” which references Angkor Wat, the iconic Cambodian temple. His sculpture relates to atrocities of the regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Liz Rossof’s  "Red Mickey Mouse" sculptures directly quote the Terracotta Army of the 3rd century BC emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. The jarring substitution of Mickey Mouse heads on the warriors' armored bodies reflect upon the commercialization and globalization of Chinese culture. 

 

Tam Van Tran, who emigrated from South Vietnam, creates works from unconventional materials like linoleum and staples to produce his wall pieces. Kim McConnell’s photographs reflect upon how American commercialism has seeped into Asian culture, while Elizabeth Bryant’s photographs are assemblages and re-workings of the traditional Japanese flower arranging practice called Ikebana. Brian Doan, a Vietnamese artist who came to the U.S. after his family was evacuated during the fall of Saigon, offers a sculptural work, “White Christmas.” This especially poignant image re-creates a scene with a TV monitor displaying “snow,” a helicopter floating above, all in white, with the song “White Christmas” playing in the background. Running through this exhibition is a re-visioning of history, memory and place from a multi-cultural perspective.

 

Published courtesy of ArtScene ©2012

Oceanside Museum of Art

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