Something my mother used to say.Seeing Sex in the Crotch of a Tree
This post is mostly odd and ends, part of an on-going conversation with Nicholas Grider on queer abstraction. Part of my recent comments have been centered around intentionality. As Nicholas rightly notes, queer abstraction is not abstract art made by gay people. The problem is that when one looks at an abstract work by artist like Charles Demuth, Richard Chamberlain, or Richard Hawkins--all who have made explicitly queer and erotic work--it's almost impossible not to mine their patches of color and form for some sort of queer signifier.
At this moment, I'm tempted to see it as a snipe hunt (or fodder for an art history disertation) and not essential to the topic at hand.
Since we've been looking at abstract as a transitive verb--which suggests agency--this recursively links back to instrumentality. In FG-T's momento mori (Perfect Lovers, above), the art is in setting the time, simultaneously popping in the batteries, and hanging the clocks tangentially.The Art is in the Action
Somehow, my own agency--specifically my queer actions in real life--need to inform my art practice. But that in and of itself seems to lead down a blind alley, as noted above. In the past, the queerness in my work has manifest as the drives and taboos of death and desire. Like an eroticzed flak jacket or being face down in a bathhouse, the work was about the body, it's desires, and intentionally being in a place where it's possible to cross paths with people who have the ability to shorten your life, and being there is still worthwhile. It's the story of Artemis and Acteon, Mesoamerican sacrifice, and Christ in Gethsemane.Perfect Lovers Immolate
I think Nicholas' new sketches (what he calls random shots) capture the push/pull of of the death/desire dichotomy. The picture of the latex glove shows the body, and the use-function of the object implies a hand that enters the body through either naturally occurring or man-made orifices. There is also implied a threat (from pathogens) and the potential for vulnerability in the body being probed. In a similar way, the photo of the survival manual is primarily about risk mitigation (like the glove) and at the same time implies a threatening environment.
What makes the images work (for me) is how they implicate the maker. Like the image termed queer abstraction, but functions like a self-portrait bust, it points to the maker, the idea of identity, control, vulnerability, and probably more. The glitter in and of itself reminds me of my colored smoke pictures I made using colored gels and a smoke machine. My sense is that the image becomes so stripped down, it functions like a proto-Rorschach. Part of me feels like they would function best in the context of other work, like Opie's Ice houses or Surfers, where she includes both details and more general images.
I've thown this image in the end because it also has the landscape form of the wallpaper/wrapping paper image above. I would like to read some text about that work, because it seems explicitly queer, and I couldn't figure out why.