• Tony Guo

In Dogtooth, Tony Guo poses queer allegory through a language of figurative oil painting. Vested in modes of surrealism and absurdity, Guo entertains the trauma of “coming-out” through a series of theatrical vignettes. Here, the body is staged with a willingness to be seen and a desire for concealment, as moments of whimsy mask a journey into a captive dilemma.

Taking its name from Yorgos Lanthimos’ 2009 film, Dogtooth is riddled with irreverence and confinement, as figures find themselves caged in helpless situations and turn to the unreal. Sexual codes of queer expression surround these unclothed beings, uncertain signs of fluidity that form as vitalities unfelt by the poised figure. It’s an unruly theatre, one where figures morph and perform a transfiguration that leads to uncertain grounds.

Throughout Dogtooth, Guo carries forward drawings that elucidate the worlds formed in oil. The pages enact a disegno wrapped in queer figuration, as process and concept are embodied, and the world of Dogtooth is sensed on paper. Returning to canvas and Guo’s brush continues to slip. The invocations of oil are gestural, vying for opacity and attending to detail, as the painter enacts an expansive register that teeters into abstraction.

There among the blackened domains of Dogtooth, the artist’s body remains caged. The figure is cast and recast in an obsessive enactment of the Self. The layered bodies unfold as a mirror stage, as the paintings perform a reckoning within. There is a potential to cohere within this psycho-theatre, to discover one’s own catharsis through the mediums enacted. Still, the plain remains dark, and Dogtooth’s promise is unrealised as the young man's body is contorted and arranged atop the stage.

Tony Guo (1999) is a painter born in Aotearoa who grew up in Northeast China. He migrated to Tāmaki Makaurau in 2012 by himself, spending his teen years with host families while adapting to multiculturalism. Guo’s work seeks to enact a catharsis of coming-of-age and ineffable aspects of human experience.

He completed an MVA at AUT in 2022 and continues to expand his conceptual and technical realms through research and practice.

Opening Hours

  • Window vitrine viewable at all hours


  • 454 Karangahape Road
  • Auckland CBD
  • Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland 1010