The Drawers - Charles Yuen   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Situation, Positioning, Location

He has it in perspective; he's got it right; this is the plight of modern man. Not that modern man is bucking against his plight. There is a passive, almost blissful, acceptance of the conditions. The future doesn't appear bleak, really, just bland with the only color being noxious spottings of a color directly opposite puce more poisonous than lime, florescent, the color of fantasy germs.

In the placid demeanors there is a Buddhist acceptance. These humanoids with their perfect posture are unruffled by technological, modernist, industrial intrusions. They walk the middle way, balanced and unperturbed. They appear to reject the problems of contemporary existence, quite simply, with no visible signs of distress. Turtle tells it all. With ease a man sits in the full lotus position atop a turtle, the slow moving beast with little semblance of progress. The man's arms are raised above his head without straining to form the symbol of infinity. But there are no hands with which to create on this body of no beginning and no end. Is mankind tied by his situation? Is his position hopeless? Or has he solved the puzzle of existence and become a parcel of acceptance, living side by side with pollution, greed and the corroded values that daze.

By inserting the figure into the picture plane and placing that figure in relation to landscape or the flotsam and jetsam of contemporary existence, Charles Yuen pulls forth a semblance of order from the chaos of existence. The situations that he places his figures in don't solve the problems of modernity, but the many layers and complexities of location are placed up-front to be examined. Yuen withholds as he reveals and if this seems confusing, it sums up the truth of sentience - the connections between the elements of the here and now are no more than what is presented to us, the sensation of the moment.

That the drawing style is primitive or childlike reinforces the statement. There isn't condemnation or judgment in these renderings of man in his alienation; nor is there a morbid fascination. It is with a sense of calm that the figures confront their fate as if they have an intrinsic preparation for the outcome. Like children, their imagination can only envision so much. As in coaching a child not to accept rides from strangers, there is a message that something bad could happen, but there is not a specific explanation of that disaster. The resulting apprehension is vague and mysterious with a perverse curiosity at the nature of the lurking evil.

Copyright 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers