C. Gao

“I Am Not Here”

Artist’s Statement

By applying thick layers of oil paint over the images of faces, I paint perhaps, portraits of emotional states rather than of those of physical likenesses. Furthermore, obscuring facial features can be seen as both an act of violence and an act of protection. Do I violate the subject’s physical identity? Do I protect the subject from the gaze of the viewer at the same time? Either way, smothered and subsumed by paint, the person becomes absent. Hence…the title, I am not here.

Process Diary