BLING BLASIAN BLING
iona rozeal brown and Stella Lai
curated by Darryl Smith/Laurie lazer
“Bling BlAsian Bling” featureswork that incorporates traditional African American and Asian elements, forms and techniques to comment upon and explore socio-cultural and socio-political contemporary issues.
iona rozeal brown
Brown’s paintings portray anonymous courtesans, geisha, and Japanese gangura in blackface.Browns work addresses the global influence of hip-hop, commercialism, appropriation and African-American culture as fetish.
Herw.o.i.m.s., (worms) are an acronym for Weapons of Mass Spending.The woims are armed only with a mouthful of rotting teeth, an occasional gold cap, as they greedily feast on all manner of material culture, particularly the trendy accessories of hip-hop.
For brown, the unbridled impulse to devour everything from “bling bling” to Burberry not only represents thewholesale appropriation of hip-hop culture by the Ganguro, but also the voracious nature of consumer culture in general.
Brown was born in Washington, D.C., where she is based today. She earned an MFA from Yale University and has since exhibited at UCLA’s Hammer Museum; Spelman CollegeMuseum of Fine Art, Atlanta; and New Image Art, Los Angeles.
Lai works with three girl characters wearing animal masks a rabbit, a bear and a cat.The characters were inspired by The Monkey King story, where human characters adopt animal traits.Lais characters retrace childhood memories and explore issues of sexuality, isolation and vengeance.
Lais work is informed and influenced by graphic design and typography.Referencing her native Hong Kongs chaotic urban landscape, Lai makes comparisons to several urban centers in the U.S. SFs Chinatown and LAs Chinatown.
Lai also incorporates traditional Chinese painting and floral elements in her work. Lai is represented by The Lizbeth Oliveria Gallery in San Francisco and has shown previously at the Luggage Store, New Langton Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in San Jose.