Born in Quezon City, Philippines
Resides in Chicago, Illinois
In today’s information-laden world, we are all too aware that history is written by those in power. Anyone who fails to conform to the ruling class and the ideals set forth by these often narrow-minded worldviews gets swept under the rug and lost to the annals of time. However, with the advent of the internet, social media, and increasingly instant forms of communication and community, like-minded people have banded together to champion and bring much-needed attention to formerly-marginalized ideas, identities, and ways of life. By speaking up and acting out, the LGBTQIA+ community has been able to overcome years of oppression and work toward a more inclusive society. Though working in myriad styles, Jade Yumang’s practice centers around an investigation of queer form and the ways in which this notion can be affected by materiality and interaction with the body. Taking the phenomenological idea of “queerness” and its syntactic origins on the edges of a conservative, heteronormative society, Yumang grasps at instances of resistance to the status quo in crafting his/their work. Looking at the history of obscenity laws, filmic tropes around queerness, and the stigmas around same-sex and queer relationships in Western cultures, the artist works in series to create sprawling conversations that grow from physical objects and historical benchmarks. Often turning to fiber techniques in a sculptural tact, Yumang combines traditional methods like quilting with complex discussions based in conceptual, research-based inquiry.
Many of Yumang’s projects are rooted in texts or publications that deal with the shifting views on queer culture in the 20th century. In the Drum Up series (2017-2019), the artist focuses on a particular issue of the mid-1960s publication Drum. Each page from Volume 6, no. 1, March 1966 has been printed on fabric and incorporated into quilted and constructed forms that give physical presence to particular passages. As the publication was known for its blend of sexual politics, literature, and humor, works like Drum Up Page 36 (2019) asks the viewer to study the history and complexity of the multifaceted queer voices during the 20th century. In the same vein, the Weeklies series (2012) appropriates weekly gay magazines from New York City and uses their imagery as a basis for formal abstraction. Meanwhile, Yumang’s most recent body of work continues this marriage of sculptural craft and literary appropriation by working from two 1964 articles on homosexuality and relating them to the “gendered site of suburban living” in the mid-20th century. Titled Open House Spatter (2020), the painted patterns and structures subtly-based in domestic interiors separate the idea of queerness from a purely sexual state (as often dramatized and stigmatized in mass media) and instead ask questions about everyday life in Canada and the United States.
Born in the Philippines, Yumang grew up in Dubai before moving to Vancouver, BC. Aside from his solo practice, he is also one half of the New York-based group Tatlo with Sara Jimenez. Through performance and socially-minded interventions, the duo focuses on teasing out the ways bodies are perceived and framed within cultural contexts and physical systems. Similarly, Yumang’s own work revolves around connecting personal experiences with broader inquiries into identity through form-based experiments like his 2020 video performance Blue Stripes. Deconstructing the human form using abstract visual language, Yumang is able to go beyond the physical and the representational to touch on burning issues in society.