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Raeleen Kao

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conceptual, figurative, traditional, modern, realism, cut paper mixed media, cut paper, paper, works-on-paper, screenprint, silkscreen, intaglio, printmaking, etching, vanity realism, lithography, disease, death, hair, medical, health issues, vulnerability, human condition, health, self-portrait, portraiture, portrait, contemporary figurative, woman


    In my earliest memory, I was laying heavily sedated on a hospital bed at three years old.  In the four hours prior to that memory, my heart had been cut out from chest and my body sustained on a machine which replicated a heart's function of pumping blood through my arteries.  I see my work as a record from that first memory through a series of separate chronic conditions and surgical procedures which continue to affect my body. 

            I see beauty as a mask for the morbidity of deterioration and draw on the vanity associated with a desperation to produce a facade of stability as the body becomes increasingly susceptible to illness.  The manner in which I depict hair demonstrates the delicacy of an individual strand, the contrived beauty of a braid, and exposes its easily disheveled nature.  Hair exists as a form of pride, infamously with Marie Antoinette to its modern importance with cancer patients.  In my work, I explore hair as a precise record of health and as an extension of femininity and sexual power, made most evident in its absence under the invasive treatment of chemotherapy. 

            I focus on scars, stitches, and biopsy sites which actively externalize one's most intimate medical history.  My self-portraits explore the body as an object vulnerable to physical and psychological trauma as a result of disease and subsequent treatment.  My portrayal of the body confronts the prospect of death and exhibits loss and with exhausted passiveness represented by figures curled up in child-like and fetal positions that convey the impression of sleep. 

            These themes of loss are heavily centered on aspects of the body which anatomically define a woman.  Historically, there has always been a stigma placed upon women who are unable to conceive, who give birth to stillborn children, or suffer through miscarriages.  The shapes I choose to construct reference nests, umbilical cords, and ovum.  These images obsess over a destruction of the female reproductive system and the reoccurring trauma which occurs with the loss of a child.


Recent Exhibits

Raeleen Kao participated in these exhibits:

Dec, 2013 Inhospitable
International Museum of Surgical Science
Feb, 2013 Artist Talk, Closing Party
Bert Green Fine Art
Jan, 2013 Body Like A Barrow
Bert Green Fine Art
Sep, 2012 GROUP SHOW
Bert Green Fine Art
Exhibited with these artists
Exhibited at these venues
Raeleen Kao has Exhibited at these venues:

International Museum of Surgical Science Bert Green Fine Art
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