The shifting nature of identity, and its enduring capacity for redefinition, are at the center of Yesiyu Zhao’s practice. Drawing from personal experiences of migration, American and Chinese histories, as well as longstanding societal norms of gendering bodies, the artist’s visual language foregrounds the liberating capacities of art to overturn conventions and represent the overlooked. In a highly symbolic, painterly vocabulary, Zhao creates scenes where archetypal figures—soldiers, lovers, high heels—embody intimate and surreal allegories of living in the world as someone who is positioned as Other. The artist humanizes the multitude of selves that one person can contain, acknowledging the intersectional desire to be seen and understood.
Yesiyu Zhao (1991) was born in Zhejian Province, China, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts (2018) and his MFA from SUNY Purchase College (2020). The artist had his first solo exhibition at David Castillo in April 2021.
b. 1991 in Zhejiang, China
Purchase College, SUNY, Purchase, NY, Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts
School of Visual Arts, New York, NY, Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts
Journey to the West, David Castillo, Miami, FL
Split, DC Triangle, David Castillo, Miami, FL
At the Table, Christies, New York, NY
Together, at the Same Time, de la Cruz Museum, Miami, FL
There is only One Direction, de la Cruz Collection, Miami, FL
CURRENTS, David Castillo, Miami, FL
Unsettled Bodies, Art Basel OVR Portals
Queer Out There, Tong Art Advisory, New York, NY
Shadow For Sale, Essex Flowers Gallery, New York, NY
Creatures Such As We, Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery, Purchase, NY
First Works Interested, 1019A Gallery
Everything’s Fine Here, Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery, Purchase, NY
Mementos – Captured Memories, Bigger Code Gallery
Closing Show, Strohl and Fowler-Kellogg Art Center, Chautauqua, NY
Closing Show, Summer Residency at School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
Visual Arts Residency at Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY
Summer Residency at School of Visual Arts
“Spotlight”, Art Basel Miami Magazine, December 2021.
Altman – Yee, Riki, “Sum and Substance”, Art Basel Miami Magazine, December 2021.
Altman – Yee, Riki, “Confronting Conformity with Top Talents from Around the Country”, Art Basel Miami Magazine, December 2021.
Pitcher, Laura. Make Room Los Angeles’ Group Exhibition “Desire Encapsulated” Heats Up Hollywood, Observer, June 22, 2021.
Greenberger, Alex, Claire Selvin, Tessa Solomon. ARTnews in Brief: Bennett Prize Names 2021 Recipient—and More from May 28, 2021, ART News, May 24, 2021.
de la Cruz Museum, Miami, FL
Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL