深黄 (Dark Yellow)
35" × 42.5"
thread, acrylic, gouache, powdered paint on muslin,
深黄 (pinyin: shēn huáng) is a meditation on colorism and how the perception of one’s race can fluctuate. My own conception of my race was formed through my experiences of growing up in Missouri and California and then moving to Massachusetts.
The title translates to "dark yellow," but can also be read literally as "deep yellow" in Chinese. I often found that my skin seemed to alternate in meaning from one of being a “dark” Asian American in California to a deeper sense of innate yellowness that feels inescapable in predominantly white cities like Boston.
These two paintings were completed by painting 180 isolated selections of the my face in random order before puzzling together the final piece. This process required me to scrutinize and recreate the color of my skin each day.
The yellow selections were chosen as parts (pixels) of my face that a computer perceived to be precisely identical in color value, which were then scaled up to mask the my face.