Christine Park Gallery presents the first solo exhibition by New York-based multi-disciplinary artist Mathew Tom (b. 1984).
This exhibition showcases Tom’s most recent works from his painting series, which explore images from what has traditionally been known as the diametrically opposite worlds of “East” and “West,” each with its own separate cultural and visual traditions. Through his paintings, Tom examines the concept of so-called East-West dichotomy and its cultural intersection and unveils how an image that may begin in one part of the world can transform into one that is universally recognized.
Culling from art history, Tom edits and reinterprets historical artworks. These reimagined images, separated from their original context, become hazy dream-like fantasies. With a Chinese father and an American mother, Tom is deeply interested in the notion of being “Asian” and ways to reconcile two opposing cultures.
Tom’s training in Korean Minhwa painting in Gwangju, South Korea has greatly influenced his current style. With paintings that feature a tiger from a Japanese folding screen from 1630, cherries from a European botanical illustration, a young woman from a Chinese 1930’s advertising poster, vases from the Chinese Ming Dynasty, a model from 18th century London, and a pair of hands from a German Medieval painting, Tom portrays images that hold symbolic significance for Eastern and Western cultures.
Questioning notions of cultural appropriation, Tom traces the transference of artistic trends between the East and West and its broader meaning in our current globalized society. Manipulated and repeated through history, these images become universal and survive through the centuries. Tom wonders if it is possible for individual images to become universal through repetition. What is really East, and what is West?Mathew Tom, Stigmata (After Hans Memling), oil on linen, 154.4 x 121.1 cm (60 x 48 in), 2018