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Charles Yuen


My painting process inhales a profusion of events and exhales a reflection; inconclusive, provocative, thoughtful, wry. Being from Hawaii, living in New York City, with an hyphenated identity (Chinese-Japanese) has occasioned unique assumptions on belonging. An unstable cultural perch promotes a questioning viewpoint.


Early paintings sought to engage identity as a metaphor, provoking insight via an alienated vision. Influenced by Edward Said’s “Orientalism,” and other structuralist critiques, my notion of an alienated vision matured. Focus sharpened as theoretical, political, and personal experiences integrated.


Accordingly, my work delights in the iconoclastic. Denying primacy to “logical” spaces in favor of a poetic experience. I use material and intellectual stimuli to merge in a kind of interactive, non-hierarchical, input. Increasingly physical paintings paradoxically explore invisible forces.


My current paintings are a meditation on a secretive dynamic between our subjective and objective selves. Wave fields conjuring microwave-radar-electromagnetic-gravitational forces tighten the space. Nested in this thrumming background is a wandering vocabulary of images. Birds observe non-judgmentally, channeling Triassic origins, people sprout roots for poetic expression, a diamond grows a tumor as jewels emerge larva-like from human



Evoking stories that champion absurdity and acceptance, hubris and redemption—I paint innocent observations on the human condition. Made in a process of discovery and revelation, my paintings offer an archeology of their own creation; pentimenti belies false starts, buried metaphors, and possible diversions.


My paintings resist complicity with a mass-media’s propensity towards dehumanized generalities. Battered and scarred surfaces infused with subtle humor evoke a contemporary condition.



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Home Cooking curated by John Yau

October 23 - December 5, 2021

Art Fairs