The solo exhibition at Wangaratta Art Gallery will analyse the ingrained stereotypes of perceived LGBTQIA+ lives still perpetuated from and by mainstream news media.
After the recent Marriage Equality debates, the discussions regarding LGBTQIA+ children and teaching staff being expelled from religious schools because of their sexuality and the Israel Folau debacle, discrimination against the community never seems far from public discussion and media attention. This work explores the constant and continuous scrutiny focused on the LGBTQIA+ world.
News and media are littered with examples of homophobia, mistaken gay sexuality, gay stereotypes and perceived gay weakness.
Cinema often exacerbates these stereotypes with LGBTQIA+ people often depicted as murderers, paedophiles, and violent psychopaths, suffering from mental illness, desperate and destined to come to a bad ending.
When Scott Morrison talks of “family values” his words are coded to mean straight and acceptable, LGBTQIA+ families are inferior and false.
“GAYSGAZE” comprises two sets of hot pink neon words that flash intermittently between the words “GAYS” and “GAZE”.
The work is concerned with the ongoing and continual scrutiny of the LGBTQIA+ community. The private lives of the LGBTQIA+ community are never far from public view and by extension judgment. The work flashes on a continuous loop from “GAYS” to “GAZE” and back again, revealing the continual and often oppressive dissection of LGBTQIA+ lives by heteronormative society.
There is an ongoing perception of male homosexuality as the binary “Other” to male heterosexuality. The straight/gay binary plays out with heterosexual maleness perceived as normal and dominant whilst homosexuality is perceived as less than or supplementary. These binaries are problematic for all concerned as they reinforce a hierarchical structure and support binary oppositions such as strong and weak, active and passive and rational and emotional. As such they enforce strict codes of practice and what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour, emotion, thought or action. This work comments upon this binary and the continuous monitoring of masculinity by heterosexual society of what is and isn’t allowed; what is and isn’t perceived to be Masculine.
Another discriminatory trope of mainstream media and religious groups is that sexuality is on some level a lifestyle choice, which can be adopted at will. The Neon work “ETERNAL” consists of the word “ETERNAL” displayed in the rainbow colours, with each letter a different colour, on a glossy black background.
The work simply signals the fact that there have always been LGBTQIA+ people in every culture, county and civilization since the beginning of time and there always will be.
Media often positions sexuality and gender identity as curated lifestyle choices, identities and personas to be taken up and dropped with the season, as fashions or trends to be consumed and discarded at will
Lifestyle implies a choice and a way of styling your life, be it a Metallica enthusiast, outdoor fanatic or sci-fi devotee. Each of these conjures a picture in our head of what that person might be interested in, how their home and clothing might look, what type of classes they might attend or even the food they might eat. Lifestyles can be changed and adapted; interests and popular culture organised and co-opted to define our sense of self.
The “Agenda” series of fine art prints are imagined as a response to the question, what if LGBTQIA+ identities really were lifestyle choices? and posits this assumption with how marketing, branding and advertising would be used to actively promote these identities, appeal to new audiences and attract new consumers to take up their mantras.
Through this ongoing series of works, stereotypes will be questioned, scrutinised, dissected and reclaimed as sites of strength and pride.
details:Location: Wangaratta Art Gallery, Wangaratta