3rd -10th Oct 2018
ROAD studios situated in George Henry Lee’s building, Liverpool
Over the course of one year, I have moved from Ohio to Liverpool, undertaken a Master’s in Art, Aesthetics, and Cultural Institutions from the University of Liverpool, trained as a yoga teacher, performed with the What We Did Next theatre company in Assassins, joined ROAD studios, and now, with less than a week before I fly home to Ohio, I am showing my work. These paintings each came from a very basic need to keep painting as I moved through the insanity of life in an unfamiliar place. Positive, Negative, Neutralized is a revised product of a recent project that comes from a deeply personal history of love lost and the consequences of mental illness; painting it again kept me aware of what I left behind, and I took it as an opportunity to explore the potential insights of abstraction. The next works I made here were the Flesh Tomes, a series of small paintings of wounded skin. I was in pain, and I turned to painting to express my inner feelings in an outer sense. As each panel came to life, I reflected on them and understood a kind of alchemical transmission of my pain into them.
With every passing day, every new project or assignment is undertaken, my life in Liverpool grew to be at once insane and ecstatic; my relationship with the space and time of the city became compassionate, my pain dissipated and I grew more in touch with the people all around; their pain, often silently ignored, gave me a new direction. I revisited an older series; a small series of headless torsos taken from the profiles of random, anonymous Grindr users. The use of discretion and anonymity as a shield against queer exposure is an affront to the progressive push for visibility. Under and Discreet each represent this phenomenon in different modes. The aquatic theme of a fabric sample guided the watery, pearl-pierced Under, an aesthetic presentation of a rebel without a face. Discreet was a more energetic interpretation, influenced by my study of yoga and metaphysics. The energy that makes us is interwoven from infinity to infinity, connecting us, our actions, and our thoughts and feelings to one another. The power of living as ourselves ripples through the air, through walls, cement, steel; energetic interdependence connects us beyond our personal scopes. Quantum entanglement shows spooky action at a distance, and there’s no reason to believe this has no implications for us as living amalgamations of the same entangled energy.
The universe was born from a single point; I believe we still exist within a relatively finite point in an infinite expanse outside it. My year in Liverpool has changed my perspective so thoroughly, and even as I leave, a part of me will stay within each of you. To surrender to the world beyond you, to understand existence as ultimately an interconnected fabric of processes, actions, experiences, praxis, production, intention… to surrender our concepts of individuality is to embrace the metaphysical connection of us to everything else. Surrender illusion to embrace