featured gallery for October 2005

Manner of Solitude

After realizing the scope and extent of the Visual AIDS archive, I wanted my approach to remain simplistic. I needed to place myself within the context of being an artist, and how being HIV-positive affects a person and their work, and those who bear witness to that.
The figure, as interpreted by these artists, hit me immediately. Image after image spoke to me of the isolation of the artist from many sides. First, just for being an artist -- one of the loneliest occupations for sure. It seems too, that an artist working in the figurative genre has to endure more disappointments with their career than those who just make "pretty pictures." Even more so for the erotic artist. Those who persevere with that, through the struggle of their art, can be brought to their wit's end, and even question their integrity as an artist. But the special few who carry forward with their work in this manner of solitude have achieved brave heights. Shown here then, are some of the finest examples I've been lucky enough to gather from one resource.

Viewing the works of so many artists in different styles, media and approaches to their craft still spoke to me of a consistency for a somber and passionate feeling in their work. They have all struggled, and have hit a nerve with their sheer amount of vitality. They also, as artists, show us their isolated side, and we become affected by this, as good art should do to us. Each of the subjects here brings out feelings of dignity, despite any intended humor. They've given a piece of themselves, and we admire that accomplishment.

The art also conveys to the viewer, in some cases, the matter of being gay. Both subtly and distinctly, and often with an element of humor. The sense of honesty, and discovery of defining the true self without any loyalty to societal convention or fear of prejudice. On the level of any orientation, here too, they give of themselves, and again we admire their achievements.

Stricken with this dreadful disease, I know that some of these artists are no longer with us. The people I know personally living with HIV/AIDS have shown me a courage and forbearance I greatly admire, as in the case of the work of these 20 artists presented here this month. The works I've selected all have in common the convergence of isolation and courage. These artists have shown us just how alone they have been, or the representation of that for others in their lives, as are we all. We too, know of that struggle in our daily lives as human beings. All through our days, we carry many of those feelings of isolation ourselves, and rarely get the opportunity to convey them, let alone the courage to do it so eloquently with art.