A look at the powerful art in Queer Voices 2017

The Queer Voices 2017 art exhibit and open-mic night opened Friday, June 2, at the Open Community Arts Center.

Queer Voices was born from the Pulse nightclub shooting June 12, 2016.

“Queer individuals are routinely trivialized, silenced, and killed,” according to the exhibit’s curatorial a statement. “For many, the Pulse shooting acted as a mobilizing force. People across the country banded together to collect funds for the victims’ families, hold candlelight vigils, and raise awareness. Queer Voices is one such event. This exhibition aims to provide a platform for queer artists, as many galleries and museums deem LGBTQ work to be niche or unprofitable.”

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The art is “organized under the umbrella of ‘queer,’” but the work “is far from monolithic,” the statement said. “The artists engage with a nexus of issues surrounding queerness, each reflecting the individual’s distinct perspective.”

The exhibit is curated by Kevin Warth, S.N. Parks and John Faughender.

The Queer Voices exhibit runs until June 30 when there will be a closing reception, as well as another open-mic night.

These pieces are the works of multi-media artist Edward Taylor. “My artistic vision is one that defines a contemporary approach to understanding gender expression of this millennium. I want to redefine gender as being the way we express masculinity, femininity and the in-between—not simply by the sex that we are born into.”
Tobias Cameran Stalder is seen in the reflection of his piece titled “The Boy in the Mirror, the Girl in the Reflection”.
“When the Children Aren’t the Future” by Andy Aliaga-Mendoza
“We Have Other Problems” by Andy Aliaga-Mendoza
Queer Voices 2017
The work and process of S.N. Parks invokes unintelligibility. “My process, identified as photography, utilizes painterly sensibilities, mark making, and textural depth—blurring the lines of discipline by resisting categorization, making the work unintelligible from any one disciplinary frame.” The process in which Parks works is called a chemigram, which uses traditional darkroom paper that is covered with different resists such as glues, soaps, food, household cleaners, etc. and is then developed in photographic chemicals. “In my exploration of this process, I’m also considering the chemical reactions on the surface of the paper, making marks sympathetically, and exploring the unexpected outcome…I relate the uncontrollable outcome and fluidity of the process to the experience of being non-binary, genderqueer, gender fluid, (etc.) as no matter how intimately I know the process or material, there is always an element of the unexpected in the expression. The created image, like coming to awareness of our identity, is ever-changing, evolving.”
Andy Aliaga-Mendoza stands beside her two pieces titled “We Have Other Problems” (top) and “When the Children Aren’t the Future” (bottom). “These two pieces are part of a series called “Bright Tunnel, Dark End.” The pieces reflect a juxtaposition between the bright, carefree lives queer children, especially those of color, experience versus the violent and oppressive words of the politicians and lawmakers who are currently putting forth xenophobic, homophobic and racist legislation in this new administration. The faces of the children are not shown just as the people on Capitol Hill and the White House do not recognize them or their humanity.”
Tobias Cameran Stalder stands beside his piece titled “The Boy in the Mirror, the Girl in the Reflection”. “Leelah Alcorn was a 17-year-old transgender girl living in Ohio. She killed herself and for a short time it was sensationalized, fetishized, and obsessively documented. Her parents to this day still call her by her birth name in the name of their God. Her suicide letter was the moment I knew I wasn’t a girl. What Leelah couldn’t put into words was the exact and distinct pain of dysphoria, of knowing you don’t quite fit in, of being hated….Using a broken mirror and a paint pen, I transcribed her exact suicide note. While it is read, the person is forced to face themselves, forced to face the missing piece. The viewer is forced into a small window of what it is like to not quite fit in.” On either side of the mirror are two prints. “These are images of myself right before I pull down my binder pixelated through Photoshop to distort the body and create static behind it. I want to invite my viewer in and give them a glimpse of what being transgender is like for me.”
Queer Voices 2017
Jasmine Smith sits below her two pieces titled “No Evil” (left) and “Bantu Knot” (right) at the opening reception of the Queer Voices 2017 art exhibition. “After Photographing drag shows and portraits of trans and non binary friends, I have compiled many images of raw individuality. I plan on creating portraits in fantastical worlds while enhancing the figures’ gender expression.”
(From left to right) Curators of the Queer Voices art exhibit John Faughender, Kevin Warth, and S.N. Parks pose for a group photo in front of some of the art work.
S.N. Parks (left) stands beside their partner MC Lampe (right) at the Queer Voices 2017 art exhibit. Not only is Parks one of the fourteen artists in the exhibit, they are also one of the curators of the show.
Gwynn Lebeau stands beside her non-representational self portrait title “Spacing Out” at the Queer Voices art exhibit. “The lines in this fog of thought represent my thought processes and how it goes in any and every direction, never really landing on a solid answer…These eyes depict some timeline of restless nights, seeing relationships fall apart, and humanity being generally terrible; they are sick of paying attention…It is important that his piece be gender fluid so I don’t feel attached to that aspect of life and understand myself better as a human. Having long eyelashes doesn’t make me a girl, nor does having nail polish—it just makes me myself.”
Queer Voices 2017
Tristen Weller performs the Butoh Dance at the open mic night and Queer Voices exhibit at Open Community Arts Center.
Ray Morris performs spoken word poetry at the open mic night and opening reception for the art exhibit.
Queer Voices 2017

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