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Retake: Look Again and Keep Looking

Michelle Ha

Oil on Canvas, 2022

Retake: Look Again and Keep Looking is a series of oil paintings that depict East Asian American women by subverting the traditional tropes from films of female Asian women as dragon ladies or submissive damsels in distress. The portraits destabilize these stereotypes by placing East Asian American women through the lens of cinematic depictions of intimate settings. By recontextualizing the history of oil paint in western paintings, the works subvert how women have been depicted through the male, white gaze. The titles and paintings utilize the expectations of the audience by juxtaposing the stereotypical movie titles/tropes compared to the intimate real portrayal of the subjects: the everyday lives of people are understandable. These works are presented in a living room-esque setting, creating a comfortable place for the viewers to confront their own biases and voyeuristic tendencies.