September 28 – October 15, 2017
When asked as an artist to stand shoulder to shoulder with the production of Boy, I knew that saying yes would lead to a more direct and engaging conversation with myself about where and how my art meets my gender.
For most of my life, gender has been, at best an abstract fluid notion and at its worst invisible. The dysphoria manifested physical difficulties, depression, anxiety and fractured self-image. My gender identity had few tangible ideas, imagery, or vocabulary. It is only now that we, as a society, are openly speaking about gender as a spectrum, not limited to the imposed binary of pink ribbons and blue balloons.
Though growing up as a transgender person has been at times painful, frustrating, and frightening, it has also been surprising, affirming, and humorous. But still, without language.
Interestingly, as an artist, I have always worked in realism. But the end result has been visual anchors that inform and enforce gender binary. The imagery felt too obvious and inaccurate. I felt obligated to illustrate my gender literally in my work. Over the last two years, I have been medically transitioning and along the way I have discovered a profound sense of language and mark making that is true to my experiences of both the torment and the elations of my journey. I have finally taken agency over my body, gender, and art. In this body of work I am exploring gender with abstract language and a kind of neo-expressionism. My hope is that it is an accurate visual vocabulary for the viewer and that it effectively expresses the beauty and the risks of being what Kate Bornstein refers to as being a “Gender Outlaw.”
– Deeds Davis