Darius X, A Boy Named Soo
February 4—25, 2016
Opening: First Thursday, February 4, 6:00—8:00 pm
In A Boy Named Soo, printmaker Darius X reflects on his life as a transgender Korean adoptee raised in the Pacific Northwest. The exhibition includes work from 2004 to the present.
Driven by a yearning to find his place within the Asian American and Queer communities, Darius uses the bold and direct medium of linoleum block printing to explore how identities intersect and shape cultural notions of race, gender and family. Through the multi-step process of carving and printing by hand, he constructs his own mythologies about who he is, where he came from, and where he belongs.
“The intention I set for each work is to allow the image to take on a life of its own. The overall idea can come to me pretty quickly. The sketch often starts with an old family photo and then, sometimes, I’ll digitally modify the components. This is when I feel the most in control of the piece. Arranging and rearranging the composition grounds me. The transformation happens when I am tracing the image to the block, meticulously carving it, applying the ink, and finally imprinting the paper onto the block. I use the brayer like a paintbrush. Inking the block with big swooping motions or with delicate touches allows me a direct connection to the image before the ink touches the paper. I use a Japanese-style baren to give the variable strokes and then I’ll finish with a clean brayer to apply a vigorous amount of pressure. The tactile act of applying pressure with handheld tools facilitates a physical and meditative release.”
A Boy Named Soo showcases Darius’ progression from simple self-portraits to more intricate use of repetitive images, expanded color palettes, and enhanced scale. K77-1383’s muted backdrop establishes a melancholy tone while The Fleet, part of a suite of vibrantly colored prints, evokes the colors of a Korean hanbok, a traditional ceremonial dress. The four color multi-block print, Self-Made Man, is a tongue in cheek yet intimate look into the artist’s weekly ritual.