Loc Huynh: Texanese

On view June 28 - September 18, 2022

Austin artist Loc Huynh explores the convergence of two identities: Texan and Asian-American in this semi-autobiographical exhibition.

 

"Stereotypes are often used to generalize groups of people. This reductionist tendency can be dehumanizing and limits the potential of any nuance. The title of this exhibition, Texanese, is a portmanteau, acknowledging both my Vietnamese/Chinese heritage and Texan roots. 

 

The work showcased explores conventional stereotypes of the East and the West, creating a new mythology while doing so. I have spent my entire life exposed to both Cowboy kitsch and East Asian kitsch. Bronco busters, gun slingers, and cacti. Lucky red envelopes, fire cracker displays, and dragon decorations. This visual language is emblematic of my identity. These symbols constitute various expectations associated with my person. By using visual tropes associated with both East Asian and American Western traditions, Texanese presents a hybrid identity which reinvents, or at least calls into question, some expectations associated with both cultures. 

 

Growing up in the Texas public school system, I was provided a myopic view of frontier America. Through my work, I play with that narrative, usurping imagery from artists such as Frederic Remington and Buck Dunton to transform the romanticized world of the Wild West into something tongue in cheek. Placing myself in the role of Outlaw Cowboy, I ride and tame a kirin like a stallion, embodying a Pecos Bill-type folk hero. Through exaggerated features and color palettes, the traditional folk aspect of the work takes on a contemporary quality. At its core, this exhibition is a revisionist Western that pokes fun at the macho attitudes of the cowboy, incorporates uncomfortable stereotypical images, but also embraces what makes Texas, the Southwest, and its diversity so special.

 

-Loc Huynh"

 

Image: Loc Huynh, Ten Gallon Pho Challenge, 2022