chicago

Yee Jan Bao

Betsy Rosenfield Gallery

Yee Jan Bao’s syrupy paintings of vintage automobiles are amiable send-ups of a centerpiece of American cultural mythology. He cleverly underlines what are already poignant tendencies in the auto industry—the manner in which a new car is packaged and presented. Like a fresh and pure beloved, it is full of the promise of personal freedom and the open road, of endlessly renewable possibilities. Bao plays off the standard presentation of new cars in advertising campaigns—that tantalizing, low-angled view of both front (or rear) and side views of the auto, as if it were shyly exhibiting its charms. Bao then cuts to the chase, glossing over the minor stylistic differences between each model, concentrating instead on its core mythos, its caricatured signature by which it is best known and most revered. He reduces to intensify, and in his hands his various Thunderbirds, Corvettes, Rivieras,

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