Bigindicator

Raeleen Kao

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20130731165852-kao_raeleen_mother_s_treasure
Mother's Treasure, 2013 3 Color Etching & Photogravure Image: 9 X 5 1/8 Inches Paper: 14 1/2 X 9 3/8
20130731165751-kao_raeleen_father_s_pride
Father's Pride, 2013 4 Color Etching & Photogravure Image: 9 X 5 1/8 Inches Paper: 14 1/2 X 9 3/8
20130204181626-kao_r_perfect_grave__ii_
Perfect Grave (II), 2013 4-plate Etching and Aquatint Image: 6 X 6 Inches Paper: 9 1/2 X 8 1/2 Inches
20130125103058-pretty_maids_i
Pretty Maids (I), 2012 Graphite 17 X 17 Inches
20130125103313-kao_r_pretty_maids_ii
Pretty Maids (II), 2012 Graphite 11 X 11
20130125104044-kao_r_pretty_maids_iii
Pretty Maids (III), 2012 Graphite 7 3/4 X 13
20130125104215-kao_r_untitled_i
Untitled (I), 2012 Graphite 26 X 26 Inches
20130125104304-kao_r_untitled_i_detail
20130125104347-kao_r_untitled_ii
Graphite 26 X 26
20130125104440-kao_r_untitled_ii_detail
20130125104525-kao_r_untitled_iii
Graphite 26 X 26
20130125104617-kao_r_untitled_iii_detail
20130125104708-kao_r_untitled_iv
Graphite 26 X 26 Inches
20130125104759-kao_r_untitled_iv_detail
20130125104843-kao_r_untitled_v
Graphite 26 X 26 Inches
20130125234413-kao_r_untitled_v_detail
20130125234451-kao_r_untitled
Untitled (Body Like a Barrow), 2012 5-run Monoprint Over Graphite 25 1/4 X 13 1/2 Inches
20130125234518-kao_r_more_beautiful_in_death
More Beautiful in Death, 2012 2-plate Etching and Aquatint Image: 8 X 6 Inches Paper: 10 1/2 X 7 1/2 Inches
20130125234826-kao_r_medea
Medea, 2012 Graphite 40 X 26 Inches
20130125234904-kao_r_michal
Michal, 2012 Graphite 40 X 26 Inches
20120426050242-kao_raeleen_1detail_1
Graphite Detail
20120426050144-kao_raeleen_1
Graphite 104" X 40"
20120426045955-kao_raeleen_2
Graphite 26" X 40"
20120426050936-security
Security Silkscreen on Hand Cut Paper
20120426050336-kao
Graphite 26" X 40"
20120426051419-kao
Graphite 26" X 40"
20120426051706-kao
5 Color Lithograph
20120426051922-kao
Memento Mori II Etching
20120426052154-kao
Memento Mori III Etching, Aquatint, Chine Colle
20131211164618-kao_raeleen_without_detail_ii
Without Me, You're Nothing (detail), 2013 Graphite Drawing on Paper
20140806205553-10433943_749546321758151_2017599969336931786_n
Basilica Chymica Ticket, 2014
20160213034757-smwih_vi_firecat
Show Me Where It Hurts VI Graphite Drawing on Paper 26 X 20 Inches
Quick Facts
Tags
woman, contemporary figurative, portrait, portraiture, self-portrait, health, human condition, vulnerability, health issues, hair, medical, death, disease, vanity realism, lithography, etching, intaglio, printmaking, silkscreen, screenprint, works-on-paper, paper, cut paper, cut paper mixed media, realism, modern, traditional, figurative, conceptual
Statement

    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.