Night on the Town
“If I wait for someone else to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.” – Zanele Muholi
Mindy Solomon Is pleased to present a Night on the Town, a solo exhibition of the work of Justin Yoon. Focused on a series of works comprised of three recurring characters ‘Marge the Space Queen’, ‘Blue Dream’, and ‘Fivepoundz’, Yoon explores how they navigate through a night of experiences told from three different perspectives. Through these characters, Yoon explores diversity, Queerness, ennui, kitsch and mundanity in our daily lives.
Night on The Town is a part of a narrative series of works. It is an ongoing, never ending episodic “Highschool reunion” of sorts, the trio depicted with casual emptiness. Each painting captures fleeting small moments featuring larger than life Queer Asian characters portrayed in a glamorous, campy way. Like a long running TV sitcom episode, the three protagonists interact in a droll manner, where their exaggerated masculinity and femininity is highlighted as a form of satire representing a staged portrayal of heteronormativity propagated through popular media. In turn, they become Queer Asian Idols. Yoon investigates images in order to analyze and interpret Queerness without delving into intimacy and sex. Glamorous Hollywood imagery, draperies and nostalgic settings and game references inspire the environments the characters find themselves in. At the core of all of these paintings is the essential element of friendship and how important it is to be surrounded by individuals who align themselves with who we are.
Vivid and over the top, this body of work is an exciting opportunity to engage in the fantasy world of Justin Yoon. Creating positive depictions of Queer Asian characters is a an important step on representing the global community we live in and the need for diasporic voices to be heard.
About Justin Yoon
Justin Yoon is a Brooklyn based painter who was born in Los Angeles and grew up both in LA and Bundang, South Korea. Early childhood memories of American junk food, late night old Hollywood movies on the TV, and listening to jazz in the car with his family on long drives significantly affected him to create a world of romantic melancholia, synthetic colors, and casual lostness of being. With no specific emotions provoked, the group of characters reoccur over and over in a deeply synthetic yet ambiguous dream-like landscape, continuing on this never ending “Highschool Reunion”.
The viewer becomes a part of this experience, which is vaguely both universal yet deeply personal. These three characters represent a certain glamorous queer Asian idolatry as well; By glamorizing such figures in a hyper masculine and feminine visual, they become a symbol of sensual intimacy within oneselves, especially as Asian Queer characters.