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Tessar Lo’s Eyed Messes

Tessar Lo is a Toronto based artist who makes some fantastic messily non-messy paintings that are a merging of abstraction and form. Their life comes from the juxtaposition of the two aesthetics, the rough and amorphous colliding with familiar, defined shapes. There’s a lot to love in these colorful tangles.

He recently released a trio of paintings that literally caught eyes, placed them onto themselves, and stare at you through knots of brushstrokes. The works are mixed media and appear to be about the immigrant experience, based on Lo’s statement (or not?). “the immigrant child’s experiences around identity is a bumble of integration, imposition, resistance, and separation,” he says. “not always in that order, not always in isolation, not always neatly summated.” That idea—that confusion and double consciousness—is so effortlessly presented in these paintings, like little boys at a constant peek from one culture into the next, unable to decide which is theirs—or which they want to participate in.

There’s something most relatable to these. I’m a biracial kid, my mother Puerto Rican and my father a generic white dude from New York. I constantly was trying to figure out my footing in terms of cultural identities and, because I’m gay too, there was always an element of fitting in and standing out in every different community I was a part of. Nothing ever felt right but I still was obligated to every arena: these paintings say that for me.

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