Anat Ebgi is pleased to announce Phantasmal, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist Zoé Blue M.. The exhibition will run from February 22 – March 28 at AE2 Gallery located at 2680 S La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. An opening reception will take place Saturday, February 22 from 5-7pm.
Blue M.’s work addresses the complexities of multicultural psychology, family history, and growing up with a mixture of backgrounds, resulting in a body of work that draws upon a constant amalgamation of references, icons, and images, from anime to ukiyo-e. Her recent paintings can be seen as fragmented scenes from an ongoing story or play, depicting a female protagonist wholly in her own element. A narrative emerges that runs between absurdity and sincerity, with the lyricism of dreams and the directness of reality. Never extending the gaze out to the viewer, an emotional vulnerability surfaces with equal shades of humor, contemplation, and bite, revealing—across the canvases—an evolving individual in the act of everyday activities: eating noodles, cooling oneself by a fan, and playing adolescent games. In My Own Backyard (2020) depicts a young girl holding a slingshot and dressed in a Boy Scouts uniform. Nodding to the Executive Order and internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, the uniform has the numbers 9066 rhinestoned on the sleeves. Blue M.’s grandfather was interned during this period; ironically, the United States government permitted Boy Scout troop activities to persist in the camps.
The paintings in Phantasmal are unified by their bright palette and juxtaposition of abstract and culturally referent patterns. In Bright Blinding Tan Lines (2019), a girl wearing red check buffalo plaid holds up a yellow bikini by French designer Ed Hardy, who consistently used Japanese-inspired designs and American Vintage imagery in his fashions, while more organic forms leaf and feather-like flutter around her. In It Tastes Better Burnt (2019), a three-armed woman, wearing a blue Seigaiha patterned jacket, grills sausages in front of a flaming chain-link fence. Seigaiha is a traditional Japanese scalloped pattern that resembles waves, fish scales, or clouds. Blue M. imbues her paintings with these rich and subtle layers of symbolism that are the result of personal experiences and familial memories, nods to her multicultural heritage, as well as ongoing research into portrayals of East Asian female bodies throughout time and their exoticization and stereotyping as either opportunistic sexual beings, cunning “dragon ladies,” or servile and submissive, as seen in traditional theater, folklore, fashion, and pop culture.