Tony Guo

Tony Guo’s paintings explore sentiments of a queer emotional landscape. More in depth, he questions how absurd narratives in painting informs a deconstructive methodology against the binary ways of thinking that fundamentally reject queerness.


Roots, 2022, oil on canvas, 600x900mm

From highly rendered details to expressive mark-making, Guo examines how the emotional gesture of oil painting integrates from its physicality into a sublime force. Continuing on from his Master’s project, his current body of work reflects on when he came out to his parents on his 23rd birthday. Coming-out does not necessarily assure relief. It simply shifts the form of burden.

The Pipe, 2022, oil on canvas, 1000x1200mm

Traversing through new horizons with painting, Guo entertains the trauma of coming-out from a Chinese queer context while exploring the boundary between safety and fear, humour and discomfort. These contradictions are at the core of his coming-out experience as well as the sentiments in his paintings, rendered in a child-like radiance and countered by a whimsical violence. Statuesque forms woven together with a muted cold colour palette in a series of absurd narratives, Guo questions, with the potential of painting, what it feels like to rejoice in a dilemma that leads to nowhere and to evoke empathy amongst people like him.

The Puddle, 2021-22, oil on canvas, 1800x2700mm

Tony Guo was born in 1999 in Aotearoa and grew up in China. He completed a Master of Visual Arts at AUT in 2022 and is working as a part time painting lecturer for the Bachelor of Visual Arts degree, AUT.

The Shape of Our Scar, 2021, oil on canvas, 1200x1450mm

Centre for Design Research
Te Kura Toi a Hoahoa
School of Art and Design

Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau,
Auckland University of Technology


Susan Hedges
Mandy Smith

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to publish images or illustrations with their papers in CDR; neither editors nor publishers of CDR accept responsibility for any author’s/authors’ failure to do so.

© Centre for Design Research, AUT University 2021