- Curators of the Queer Frontiers share some of the highlights of their online exhibition.
While protesting and partying is at the heart of Pride, the summer season is also a time to champion queer art and culture.
Indeed, art consultancy ARTIQ has been running Queer Frontiers to celebrate LGBT+ artists since 2018. Moreover, like many Pride-themed events this year, it wanted to go ahead in some form, despite the lockdown. So it’s taken its exhibition online.
In past years the exhibition has raised over £30,000 for non-profit organisations. Beneficiaries have included the LGBT+ youth homeless charity Albert Kennedy Trust and the LGBT+ helpline Switchboard.
Likewise, this year they are supporting East London based charity Renaissance Foundation. It helps young people in hospitals, students at risk and young carers.
Meanwhile the organizers also hope to profile artists who are struggling during coronavirus.
They warn that queer artists are already underrepresented in galleries and museums. Therefore, they say continued closures could have serious financial implications.
Here the curators have selected some of the artworks to give GSN readers a guided tour of the exhibition.
Helen Beards’ art explores relationships and sex. Indeed, she hopes to portray sex in a totally different way to the male-dominated world of mainstream sexual imagery.
She originally produced The Song of Self for Playboy to illustrate an article about her erotic art in summer 2019.
Ricardo Peris’ illustration I’m Not Sure If We Are There Yet is one of several in the exhibition.
He is a Spanish illustration artist and describes himself as ‘a creative, positive person, especially motivated by wine, the infinite possibilities of the illustration field and anxiety’.
With Indian and Italian heritage, Alia Romagnoli focuses on female strength, nature and spirituality.
She says: ‘I never saw art and images that showed the beauty and acceptance of queer people in any shape or form, especially due to the censorship in the media growing up in India.
‘Many of my inspirations come from old Bollywood films and stills from the 1970s and 80s, as well as maharani portraiture in Indian folk paintings.’
The collages by emerging artist Will Ballantyne-Reed, show a warm and playful colour palette.
He uses queer archival materials for inspiration and explores themes around memory, mythology, and queer survival.
French artist Delphine Lebourgeois creates watercolors that look at ideas such as the power of crowds and feminism.
She often reinterprets these subjects by referring to fairy tales, myths and revisited historical paintings. Through these imaginary scenarios, she tells stories about vulnerability and disillusion, rebellion and empowerment.
Many contemporary artists take inspiration from a wide variety of historical periods and genres.
Likewise, baroque imagery inspired Chris Hawkes to create this painting. Despite this, it has candy-like, artificial colors and a contemporary style.
Meanwhile his work also incorporates contemporary images such as emojis. He uses humour and even refers to human relationships during social distancing.
Maser’s interest in botanical drawings inspired this work and his other pieces in his Taxonomy series.
In fact, he first developed a passion for botany and plants to alleviate anxiety and try to sleep better. However, the plants soon became visible in his paintings.
But these smaller works are not what Maser is famous for. Rather, the Irish street artist has built an international reputation for his colorful, large-scale murals and public art installations.
Meanwhile, the Queer Frontiers exhibition has always celebrated print making.
This year it includes work from Radek Husak who primarily uses printmaking. In his case, the timeless tradition of depicting nudes, surrealism and pop culture from the 1950s and 1960s are all major influences.
Meanwhile, other Queer Frontiers artists often favor performance and photography. This often allows the artist to be the main character and reinterpret personal experiences.
For example, Konstantin Zhukov’s series In the Bathhouse portrays the artist and other characters in a steamy sauna.
However the Latvian-born artist also used classical Arabic poet Abu Nuwas (756-814) for inspiration. The poet described the joyous atmosphere of the bathhouse over a thousand years ago.
Meanwhile, queer culture loves to question gender stereotypes and celebrate all the ways humans love and express themselves.
Similarly, Paris-based German artist Enrico Nagel, destroys stereotypes about masculinity by fusing them with our ‘feminine’ side. In this case, that includes ballet dancing and flamboyant fashion.
Brazilian artist Juli Manara also creates collages. However, rather than using pre-existing imagery, she creates everything from scratch.
Moreover, she sews intricate costumes for the models who impersonate the microscopic characters that inhabit her works. She even builds entire theatrical backdrops in her studio.
In this case, the heart shaped rainbow in Rainbow Cloud (Pride 2020) reminds us that love has no gender.