Celeste Marie Welch’s sculptures act as a totem intent on queering any space in which they inhabit. These particular sculptures use found media to highlight the disparity between the different stereotypes that are commonly attributed to lesbian identity by existing as total contradictions. Simultaneously soft and hard, adorable and grotesque, humorous and tragic, they question what exactly it is that draws us to them and what exactly we interpret as a feminine trait.
still from: They Wonder, Sarah Hill , Two Channel Video, 3:21; 2015
Cobi Moules grew up like many of the little girls in their class: idolizing the New Kids on the Block. Unlike his classmates however, Cobi fantasized about actually being one of them. This series of paintings meticulously recreates iconic NKOTB photos, but with the artist replacing hyper-macho member Danny Wood with himself, gleefully partaking in the homosocial camaraderie that comes with being in a boy band. These high camp images are not only a tribute to a childhood fantasy, but an exploration of the road markers which helped each one of us come to understand our own desires. The paintings create an alternate universe where the artist gets to be just one of the guys, and shows queer longing as not just being sexual, but social.
Sarah Hill’s They Wonder series is an act of meta-appropriation that ends up being entirely original. Hill takes the already iconic piece of appropriation art, Dara Birnbaum’s Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman and creates a multi-media sensory overload. By re-interpreting Wonder Woman’s iconic spin as a metaphor for the societal obsession with the “before and after” of trans bodies and identities, Hill’s constant spinning never provides the climactic “wow moment” that satiates the audience’s need for a binary comfort zone. Instead, this dizzying act of losing control highlights the ways in which many of us are made to feel while out in public, especially when our own gender expressions do not land neatly in the category of either/or.
Appropriate(d) Behavior posits appropriation as both a uniquely queer aesthetic, and an essential aspect of queer existence. From the moment they become conscious of their difference, queer bodies have historically become masters of studying, interpreting, and mimicking the behaviors of their heteronormative peers. Entertainment media provides not only idealized versions of gender presentation and behavior, but the opportunity to study, in private, the person you would like to become. This exhibition features artists who explore the ways in which popular culture has shaped, challenged, and confused how they have seen themselves, or how they have longed to be seen.
Erik Benjamins’ Everything Is Going to Be Alright seeks to capture the exact moment in cinema when two men gaze knowingly into each other’s eyes in an unspoken nod of approval. These particular images come from the inevitable release at the end of an action movie where the rugged heroes suspend their brooding masculinity long enough to share a loving smile. The artist freezes a moment in time where the male archetype not only shows emotion, but genuine affection for another man.
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