The rectangular format of photographs and paintings is conventional, not neutral. It doesn’t relate directly to human vision or bodies. The camera aperture is circular, so a rectangular print is actually cropped down from what the camera “saw”. Conventional ideas and practices like these are naturalized through repetition. They often recede from view and examination; unless you are unconventional. This perspective, from the outside of naturalized cultural structures like gender, has a unique authority and ability to describe the way social paradigms work.
I am trans (FTM) and I am creating a trans format and structure for my work. I am interested in making work that foregrounds the positive generative possibilities of antagonizing conventions.
Context is content. The white CIS male body and experience aren’t neutral or universal. Similarly, white flat rectangular gallery walls and the rectangular picture format are not “neutral”. They are traditional within Western culture. I contextualize my photographs within specific sculptural “frames” of my design. These frames determine the irregular bounds of their objects, which are layered, transparent, indexical photographs of my non-binary, trans body. These frames both reveal and hide, delineate and limit their objects; creating a specific context for them.
Often over-writing these frames are matte Flashe paintings that continue onto the wall. The white of the wall also is worked onto the surface of the frame; foregrounding and questioning the white’s implied neutrality and treating it like the choice it is. All of these distinct elements coalesce, resist, and undermine one another.
The paintings and frames reference religious and secular architecture, public signage, the english alphabet, and symbology surrounding the human body; all of which I see as arenas that often use shorthand for complicated and nuanced ideas relating to identity. The specificity of my flesh photographed resists these flattening terms.