Contributors

Ecce Homo Corona

 

 

I am very pleased to announce my first book Ecce Homo Corona

A Queer Moderne Journey through lockdown Melbourne 2020

 Published by Books in This Economy December 2020  44  Pages

 Available Hares and Hyenas Bookstore 63 Johnston Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065 Australia Hares & Hyenas

My artwork explores spiritual redemption through the earthly body. Sometimes reverential, sometimes playful, these images are both sensuous and spiritual, integrating outer and inner worlds, merging Christian faith and queer sexuality. Following my motto, “flesh is best”, these homoerotic images relish the carnal as unified with the mystical.

 “Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

- St. Theresa of Avila

 

An important guide for me in my work has been my late friend and gay theologian Michael Kelly. My work has been deeply influenced by his landmark series the Erotic Contemplative and its integration of Christian mysticism with eroticism.


 Melbourne had one of the toughest pandemic lockdowns in the world. Unable to go to my artist studio, I found myself, on iso walks, enjoying the modernist influences of my neighbourhood Essendon, renamed ‘Essendonia’, especially the modernist gardens with bold-shaped succulents, flamboyant flowers and hopeful post war architecture.

 

I also turned to British Queer modernist painters, especially Duncan Grant 1885 -1978, John Minton, who took his life in 1957, the year I was born, and David Hockney born in 1937 and still making art.

 


These artists are all gay men and share a focus on the male figure, significantly, as homosexuality was only decriminalized in Britain in 1967. Their work is figurative, not abstract, with an innate sense of pattern often against decorative backgrounds, most famously seen in Hockney’s figures immersed in the sunlit swimming pool. These artists are my queer ancestors, affirming my obsession with men as subject matter and my textured and highly patterned approach.

Growing up in the 60’s, Australian codes of masculinity made anything floral strictly taboo. Inverting these codes, flowers are a key feature in these works. Sometimes enormous flowers engulf the male figure or are floral backgrounds. Or the flowers form regal headdresses, reflecting the double meaning of ‘corona’ as Latin for ‘crown’. Or flowers are wielded as tender tokens of a liberated masculinity. The flowers accompanying these male nudes point to a masculinity and sexuality that is both earthly and heavenly, sensuous and holy, pleasurable and mystical.

 

The six-month lockdown gave me time to do 4 COVID-19-adapted photoshoots and 22 online life drawing sessions, and return to thousands of past photographs to develop new ‘second chance’ works. In returning to these photographs, I felt moved by the trust life models have had in me, including a trust in what I would create with their images.

 

Enjoy your queer modern voyage into Essendonia.

 


 

 

 

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