Michelle Yu

Region: Northeast

I work in the realm of fantasy and storytelling, creating surreal visual narratives that use the themes of animality, intimacy, and trauma to address female experience in opposition to notions of femininity. These narratives are deeply personal, marked by ambiguity and conflicting circumstances. The binary between good and bad is muddled and things are not quite as they seem. Characters are implicated simultaneously in violence and pleasure, fear and longing.

The images in my work are culled widely from American popular culture and kitsch, as well as figure painting, nineteenth-century European fairytales, and East Asian folklore. In these pieces, the depiction of a character from a television show becomes as meaningful as that of an odalisque.

By incorporating female archetypes (i.e. girl-as-victim) into new narratives, I revisit them from a contemporary perspective and sever them from their moralistic context, confusing their original significance. Through this process, I seek the subversion of widely-held assumptions about girls and young women, domesticated animals, and the banality of kitsch and pop.