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Newtro / Dana Weiser / Walter Maciel Gallery

January 7 - February 25, 2023

Newtro culture was derived in South Korea and combines modern trends with retro eras, creating new cultural constructions within media, music, food and fashion. For this body of work, Newtro acts as a paradigm for Dana Weiser’s identity as a Jewish Korean adoptee and Asian American with a focus on conventional techniques, Hanbok fabrics and historical ceramic vessels inspired by the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392AD) pottery.

Weiser creates a personal narrative by utilizing and employing traditional Korean imagery and objects to establish a broader historical context for her missing ethnic identity as an adoptee. Some of the vessels utilize celadon glazes originating from China on high fire gray stoneware, creating wonderful hues of green-to-blue color variations much like the Korean interpretations of Chinese celadon from previous generations. Using the traditional inlay slip decorations and intricate carvings from traditional Korean pottery as her guide, Weiser interprets her versions with imagery of pop cultural or mythical subjects ranging from the different birth flowers of the members from the K-pop band, BTS to the tiger (the symbol of Korea) presented with stylized trees of forget-me-not flowers.

Weiser expands her idea of Newtro by hand-embroidering narratives on to Korean fabrics used primarily to make traditional Hanbok clothing and fitting them to the surfaces of many of the ceramic vessels. The imagery includes other personal and political aspects of BTS; the flora and fauna in Korea juxtaposed with symbolic plant life and vegetation of Southern California; the Dragon King from Korean folklore along the coast of California; and a funerary piece dedicated to the atrocious death of Christina Yuna Lee who was attacked in her apartment and stabbed to death as part of the growing hate crimes against Asian Americans since the Trump presidency and the early start of the pandemic.

Dana Weiser: Newtro

Walter Maciel Gallery


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