Artist Spotlight: Explore the Work of Jennifer Ling Datchuk

Datchuk, a contemporary artist based in San Antonio, TX, explores the histories and trauma behind womanhood in "Truth Before Flowers."

Jennifer Ling Datchuk | Truth Before Flowers (2019-06-26) by Women and Their Work GalleryWomen & Their Work

Babecave Full shot (2019-06-15/2019-07-25) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

You're Invited: the Tea Party within Babecave

In this installation, Datchuk explores trauma and the history of womanhood through objects associated with the lived experiences of women. The porcelain table and chairs communicate fragility, resilience, and the struggle between diversity and the aesthetic of white bodies. 

babe cave full (2019-06-15) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

What are women made of?

Materials like porcelain and hair have crisscrossed the world and reflect migrations of identity. Datchuk deconstructs established hierarchies of materials and champions the handmade.

babe cave, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, 2019, From the collection of: Women & Their Work
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Babecave bead detail, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, 2019-06-15, From the collection of: Women & Their Work
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Babecave features lengthy blue synthetic hair attached to a large wooden rim; porcelain beads adorn the hair with words of affirmation. Datchuk deliberately puts these two media in conversation with each other, existing in liminal spaces in both life and death.


How I Came To My Table table detail (2019) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

Symbols of Womenhood

More words of affirmation surround hand-painted motifs of flowers, venus figurines, and uteruses. The decoration is large enough to be seen from outside the “cave,” and one is still able to receive the affirmations without actually entering the space, highlighting the delicate self-consciousness felt by so many women.

How I Came to my Table Stool (2019) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

The Discomfort of Performance

The uncomfortable seats express the pain and hardships women experience as they perform the femininity expected of them

Objects of Girlhood (2019) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

Objects of Girlhood

This collection of objects, entitled Objects of Girlhood is comprised of pieces inspired by those found within the artist’s childhood home. They are symbols of the struggles endured by girls of today and yesterday.

How I Came To My Table (2019-06-15) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

Take a Seat

Datchuk’s Babecave and How I came to my table invites the viewer to enter into the space, take a seat, and contemplate the intimacy and calmness created by the space.

Megaphone (2019) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

Paradox of a Porcelain Megaphone

Are the tools used to amplify women's voices designed to be silencing?  

A porcelain megaphone and saucer accompany the Objects, as a representation of the desire to scream about one’s feelings while being forced to stay quiet and be “ladylike.”

Golden Girls (2019) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

Golden Girls

Golden Girls is a buddha featuring young girls crawling over him while traditionally there are only young boys crawling over the buddha. 

Datchuk wanted a piece that would reflect girls being of equal value as stated in the Chinese proverb, “girls hold up half the sky.”

Truth Flag (detail) (2019) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

Truth Flag

Labors of girlhood, while steeped in innocence, are employed as governing apparatuses bounding and controlling girls’ futures. 

Truth Flag (Quilt detail) (2019) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

Words from those who came before us

 

“Paint not crimes in enchanting colors” was first embroidered by a girl named Emily Beal in 1889, and was created as a part of a cross-stitch alphabet sampler. Aptly titled Truth Flag, this phrase embroidered upon the stained cloth represents hundreds of years of labor performed by girls as a way to prepare for adulthood.

One Tough Bitch (2019) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

How do the bodies of women get fractured?

Porcelain shards embellished with gold leaf cover a woman’s abdominal scars. The Japanese art of kintsugi, repairing the broken with gold, calls attention to the beauty in what is often seen as broken. 

Objects of Womanhood (2019) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

Tools of Justification

Yet another Truth Flag accompanies the Objects of Womanhood, which Datchuk uses to represent the tiredness felt by Asian women. 
With titles like Exhausted not Exotic, Surrender Slowly, and Rise Up, these pieces showcase the struggles faced by women daily. 

Exhausted Not Exotic, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, 2019, From the collection of: Women & Their Work
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Exhausted, not Exotic (detail), Jennifer Ling Datchuk, 2019, 2019, From the collection of: Women & Their Work
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Exhausted not Exotic is meant to represent the hundreds of years of colonialism that the tea industry and mass-produced porcelain are rooted in. This history of exploitation, racism, and the idea of asian women being “exotic” objects is a repeating theme in Datchuk’s work.

G.O.A.T. Girls (2019) by Jennifer Ling DatchukWomen & Their Work

G.O.A.T Girls

Skin tone historically has been used to decide who gets rewarded for being a woman. Bleaching, and hiding from the sun, amongst other methods have been used to match beauty expectations for centuries. 

Made of slip-cast porcelain, these award badges are made of the same materials as porcelain dolls. This piece invites the viewer to find their own skin town in the badges, highlighting the importance of representation in every facet. These ribbons reject the empty promises of celebration and instead invest in in women in difference, bringing to light an aspirational glimpse of multiracial feminism.

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