I have imagined how my work can invoke a queer feeling. My physical and emotional experiences with queerness are expressed by objectifying my body and by the act of painting. Through the physicality of employing non-painting materials in my practice, I seek to manifest the social construction, artifice, and performativity of identity in my work. In the series of paintings titled Parallax (2019), I see the initial raw materials as a reference to my body, where I apply layers of paint or non-paint to the canvas. The labour of covering the surface could be considered my artistic metaphor, alluding to my experience with performing gender identity. Isabelle Graw states that in the context of painting there is a metaphysical connection between an object and the one who made it. Graw describes the viewer’s feeling of sensing the “absent artist” as “the author’s quasi-presence”. The subjectivity of my work is my body, the resulting painting acts as a meta-narrative, a product that archives the physical history of my labour, which references my experience with identity.
The painting’s surface consists of textures that I consider a physical representation of the creation of identity. As Sara Ahmed suggests, the impressions and results of becoming oriented imprint on the surface of the skin like goosebumps. Parallax (2019) plays with material surfaces that transform their colour before the viewer. They seem to change at different angles and become more or less dominant depending on the lighting and the viewer’s vantage point. I employed this strategy as a way to connect my work with the experience of becoming oriented, the necessity to adapt to one’s surroundings, alluding to a feeling of temporal self-discovery that is in a state of flux. The orientation of the viewer in the gallery space determines the colour of the object that they see in front of them. In many respects, the viewer is invited by the painting to move physically past and around it, to engage with it, and to investigate its potential. By witnessing the painting’s transformation while in tandem performing as part of the viewership that completes the piece.
This work was shown at Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto.