Mark Yang’s colorful, incongruous arrays of anonymous limbs entangled together investigate the nuances of human interaction through a critical lens of art history. Morphing and distorting idealized figures into conglomerates of body parts, Yang’s forms exhibit a sculptural quality, the result of the artist’s thoughtful rendering of plane, dimension, and space. Reducing, dismantling, and reassembling their limbs almost to the point of abstraction with a variety of painterly techniques, Yang creates characteristically mysterious compositions that are not immediately forthcoming with their narrative plot.
With a comprehensive set of art historical references, from the Baroque compositions of Peter Paul Rubens to the postwar abstractions of Ellsworth Kelly, Yang’s anatomical abstractions have been praised for their complication of gender norms. Yang’s ambiguous bodily arrangements rarely depict his figures’ faces, prioritizing their bodies over their identities. Resisting homogenizing classifications, Yang calls attention to shifting cultural conceptions of masculinity between South Korea, where Yang was born, and the United States, where he was raised.