STATEMENT FROM TRESPASS (2017)
Intersectionality describes the connected but diverse nature of an individual’s social categorizations. In recognizing our own multi-faceted backgrounds and our interconnectedness we celebrate difference and establish community. The creative works I produce reflect the various facets of my identity – as a homosexual, as a Midwesterner, as a Catholic-raised agnostic – with intentional nuance. I focus my practice from a lived perspective.
Homosexuality is a prevalent factor in my life and thus experiences concerning this identity inform my content powerfully. The perspective gained from this identity is deepened by its dissonance with a more conservative Catholic upbringing. I struggle with the isolation brought by shame and “sin” as well as the denial of individuals into proposed “kingdoms of heaven” based solely on social categorizations such as sexual orientation.
The Catholic upbringing that I experienced occurred in homes decked in Midwestern kitsch. I consider Thomas Kinkade and Terry Redlin. Fantasy moments of large deer jumping high over wood fences and pheasants flying up from harvested corn fields are, to many in this region, what fine art is. I take from this an understanding that the identities of a region and the cultures which inhabit it are defined by their natural environments. When considering symbols, the impetus of my conceptual research, I consider which parallels in nature communicate my human experiences. TRESPASS employs Midwestern symbolism to communicate the struggles between the various aspects of my intersectionality. In this sense I permit myself to speak subtly of homosexuality under a perceivable guise of wildlife art. The cardinal is used as a stand in for the flamboyant, flashy male. The pairing of bright red cardinals communicates homosexual relations. Botanical elements convey undertones of rebirth (milkweed), love and sincerity (fern), happiness (dahlia), sourness (crab apple), discomfort and misfortune (poison ivy), or may convey a specific place such as the wood violet flower, with its allegiance to Wisconsin.
I am using the Catholic stages of the cross to organize illustrations within a timeline ending in the condemned death of the hero. I encourage a reevaluation of the traditional anecdotes and traditionally-influenced beliefs.