A Queer Pentimento
An ongoing series of sculptural assemblages exploring the altar and reliquary forms combining image and artifact.
ERASURE is a shorthand for the ways in which queer perspectives are silenced; yet like a Pentimento, an otherness emerges through layers of identity. Some of us can’t help but reveal our nature. In my work, obfuscation, abstraction, and the use of ceramics, assemblage, and printmaking are visual strategies and metaphors for my lived experiences.
Tin glazed stoneware modeled after a glaze recipe first used in Persia 800 CE, silkscreen print on archival paper mounted to a sheet of tin and wrapped around the ceramic bust. 2021. 26 x 16 x 16 inches
I was inspired by the publication Song of Achiellies by Madeline Miller, which led me to read the Illiad, and consider the intimate relationship between Patroclus and Achilles. The historical erasure of intimacy between them is an example of how history is written by those in power. In the LGBTQ community there are too few artists who survive to be elders. The real queer coming of age is recovering ones histories; first as a viewer finding ourselves, then as a participant in the production of culture. We enfold queer traces into our creations, into our memories so we can pass them on. I made this bust of Patroclus sleeping, with a print on paper mounted to a sheet of tin draped over the face. It is an allusion to the grieving of Achiellies over his dead lover.
Stoneware and earthenware slip harvested from a river bed in Haiti, silkscreen print on archival paper mounted to a sheet of tin and wrapped around the ceramic bust. 2021
Since the 16th century, people have been posting provocative political messages on a group of five Roman sculptures known as the Talking Statues. While doing research in Rome, I stumbled upon the first of these known as Pasquino. This third-century BCE Hellenistic statue was excavated and placed near Piazza Navona. In cover of night, people would paste messages satirizing the oppressive papal government. This tradition of public satire papering over these five statues continues to this day. Known as the Congregation of Wits, the statues act as places for public dialogue. It reminds me of how monuments today, are being contested, papered over, and in some cases removed, as an expression of the people. I made this bust using clay I harvested from a river bed in Haiti and then created a silkscreen print of wrestling bodies, printed onto archival paper, mounted on tin and wrapped around the face.
Glazed stoneware, silkscreen print on paper, acrylic, 2019
Tin glazed stoneware, painted wood, silkscreen print on archival paper, 2021. 31 x 13 x 9 inches
I was walking through the streets of Paris one rainy afternoon, when I came across a plaque commemorating the spot where the last homosexual couple were tortured, burned alive and their ashes scattered to the wind. This solitary moment became the impetus for a series of drawings, and prints, that led to the creation of a pair of sculptural altarpieces paying tribute to the charcutier Jean Diot and his lover the cobbler Bruno Lenoir. This work is paired with Pentimento 15 (Bruno Lenoir).
Tin glazed porcelain, stainless steel, painted wood, silkscreen print on archival paper, 2021, 22.5 x 13 x 9 inches.
This work is paired with Pentimento 16 (Jean Diot). I work intuitively to create forms that cobbletogether stories that are often overlooked or purposefully forgotten. In the case of both Pentimento 15 and 16, there are two different silkscreen prints of sensual male bodies. An artist’s model, whose face is obscured by a rigid structure that is both a phallus, and an obstacle.
I was thinking about the tradition of wedding portraits made to commemorate couples across cultures and through out history. This pair of portrait altars, serves to commemorate a pair of lovers. That sort of celebration seemed more compelling to me, than a lonely plaque marking the site of their murder by their neighbors in 18th century Paris.
Glazed ceramic, pigmented plastic, archival print on cotton rag paper, 16.5 x 9 x 6 inches
The poet, Audre Lorde once said “My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.” It is a small excerpt from a larger essay about the importance of having and using our voices.
My work is interdisciplinary and emerges out of my interest in domestic altarpieces that combine images, artifacts, and ideas tied up with memory, folklore, revisionist histories, queer erasure, absence and obfuscation. I use ceramic sculpture as a primary medium in conjunction with drawing, photography and printmaking and I uses these things to cobble together queer and peculiar forms and images that might cut through my own silence and apathy.