My approach to painting takes almost an archival look at digital imagery. Over the past four years, I have accumulated dozens of photos, and hundreds of images found in networked spaces via the internet. My archive is collected from dating apps, homoerotic visual culture, and imagery that references things from my personal life. I can’t really say how one image jumps out and chooses me, or I it. It just happens. I can say that I only work from subjects that have inspired or moved me. These images act as the starting point for my paintings, a kind of foundation, for the proceeding formal, and painterly decisions. Utilizing fields of paint, I manipulate color, texture and shape through the censoring of subject matter. Often, I tightly crop imagery, presenting to the viewer a part rather than a whole—enticing desire. And I consider the painting’s internal light or illumination, through a technique of layering paint in between image transfers—affecting the visibility of the subject matter.
The current body of work creates a space where the visibility, or conversely, the censoring, of identity is explored. My compositional strategies are inspired by gay male visual representations found in dating apps. Commonly an user will upload an image of themselves from the neck down, use an unrelated image in place of a traditional profile picture, block out their face with a digital scrawl, or utilize no picture at all—leaving a void in its place. Whether I fully appropriate one of the images, or reference them through my painting process, the images themselves become as much a painting medium as the acrylic paint. Appropriate, for an age of visual distraction constituted by viral reproduction and consumption. I want my viewers to consider how the gay male body contemporarily endures the burden of representation. A burden that’s not so different from our past.