A selection of images from “Do Ask, Do Tell,” the most recent body of work by Taiwanese artist Skyler Chen. Born in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, Chen currently lives and works in Rotterdam, Netherlands. As a child struggling with undiagnosed dyslexia, he turned to drawing and painting as a means of communicating with the world. An ex-mormon, he grappled with his queernes throughout his late teens and 20’s, eventually finding a safe space to explore his asian queer identity in his art practice.
“Do Ask, Do Tell” references the controversial policy of the Clinton administration instituted in 1994. Forbidding U.S. military personnel from speaking openly about their sexual orientations, these guidelines forced service members to stay in the closet. In Chen’s words, the series “depicts the emotional struggle of those who were asked to stay silent and their emotional transformations from secluded to coming out. The artworks on show display ambiguous figures in familiar scenes, projecting their queerness onto the objects surrounding them. The subjects depicted convey dreadful feelings and sensations of uneasiness while in the public, detaching their queerness from their person. Anxious and scared, the figures inhabiting the canvases are just desiring self-acceptance.”
See more from “Do Ask, Do Tell” below.