b. 1990, Hastings, MN
Shifting the historic male gaze into a male-on-male gaze, this body of work anchors its exploration of queer culture in relationships and introspection. Beginning with a survey of several photo archives, I overwhelmingly encountered pictures that fit into two distinct categories: spectacular demonstrations or public displays of sexuality. All of these images were overtly political. Then, I began to find a subset of more intimate images. Typically, these were images submitted by loved ones or donated to foundations after someone’s death. These images depicted common, tender scenes.
Working my way through these images, I reflected on D. A. Miller’s assertion that gay identity, to which we have entrusted our politics and ethics, stands in an essentially reductive relation to the queer desires on which it is based. And David Halperin’s argument that, “identity has become the preferred category for thinking about homosexuality. Moreover, it has been promoted at the direct expense of pleasure or feelings or subjectivity.” This left me asking the questions: how is queer culture transmitted if not genealogically? Is there a universal queer experience? What is queer sensibility and subjectivity and can it be visually represented?
In the body of work submitted here, black and white graphite drawings maintain a polaroid scale referencing the found historical photographs on which they are based, oil paintings provide isolated moments of feeling as they investigate questions about queer dispositions in a contemporary setting, and a few key sketches provide insight into how a few individual inquiries began.