a solo exhibition by artist-in-residence Yoshi Coryne
In 1864, Edwin Landseer painted, “Man Proposes, While God Disposes”, which depicted the fate of the doomed Northern Passage expedition. Nature triumphs, the ship is crushed in ice while two polar bears gnaw on the explorers’ remains. In winter 2014, a handwritten fortune was found pinned to Soup’s bathroom wall inscribed with the title of Landseer’s painitng. I was drawn to the work’s cautionary and fatalistic message, as well as its technical polish. Fortunately, it appears the gods have different intentions for Soup. In this show, I echo Landseer’s painting, where I amplified grim allegory with an attractive veneer.
I hope this assortment of work, inspired by the Classicist, and Northern Renaissance traditions (especially the artists Durer, Clouet, and Holbein), strikes you as dense and macabre. The Heroic Male, and its implicit homoerotic gaze, is saturated with a death-drive. I use clashing symbols, anachronisms, and the supernatural to disorient the men depicted herein. I am uncomfortable with an optimistic masculinity. I struggle with reconciling historical brutality and the ubiquity of death, with the manic cheer enshrined in the Gay male narrative. Sharing in that conversation, is my works’ rejection of an East-West binary, and I seek to expand connections hidden in plain sight, particularly in the decidedly White depictions of the Classic world.
I would like to thank Chinatown Soup for their constant support and their generosity in spirit for supporting me. I would also like to thank GoFundMe (and my supporters) for their generous donations, for which this show would not be possible. Also thanks to Ashley Thompson, John Mattia, Steve Pantas, Kerri Donnelly, Jocey Verick, and so many others for putting up with my bullshit.
Yoshi Coryne is a Brooklyn artist, whose illustrations are inspired by the Classicist, and Northern Renaissance traditions. The work also derives from the rich traditions of his Japanese and Middle Eastern heritage, and rejects an East-West binary. He seeks to expand connections hidden in plain sight, particularly in the decidedly White tropes of Classic and Enlightenment art. The artist’s drawings are sensual, taking the next logical step in the subject matter of the heroic male, underlining the inherent homoerotic nature of the male gaze. However, the dense and macabre works also hope to highlight the fatality and absurdity of the subject through clashing symbolism, anachronisms, and the supernatural. When the artist isn’t getting carpal tunnel, he is usually ruining his eyesight and posture with Netflix or computer games.