Degree Show Collection, Limerick School of Art & Design, 2014
This body of work examines the diversity of gender as a practiced and performed social construct while also confronting our habitual conflation of sex, gender, and sexuality. Having engaged extensively with a number of subjects through conversation, photography, drawing, and painting the result has been a more profound insight into the complexity of gender presentation which in turn has supported the physical and psychological fabrication of a series of gender identity portraits. This collection is an analysis of gender appropriation, an investigation into identity presentation between and beyond the gender binary and a celebration of those who have the courage to be true to themselves and express who they are. Particular attention is paid to the evolution of modern masculinity and the increasingly widespread acceptance that what makes you male is not what makes you a man.
Two Person Exhibition with Laura Angell at 126 Artist Run Gallery, Galway, 2018
Our identities are composed of a number of elements; how we feel, how we look, who we love, and how we choose to present ourselves to the world.
A painted portrait is similarly constructed through a selection of fundamental elements; the figure, the environment, the surface, the frame, all relating to each other in a particular way to form a representation of the subject's identity.
We understand portraiture by relating it to ourselves, much like we relate to everything else around us. When the expected formula of elements in a portrait has been interrupted or distorted, we are forced to shift our perception of what we are seeing in order to make sense of it. We are compelled to think differently about the subject and our connection with them, but is it possible to understand the lived experience of someone who identifies as a different gender, sexuality, or race to you? Or is that akin to attempting to understand alternate planes of reality?
This body of work is a commentary on the perception of portraits and their subjects, and an investigation into acceptance of and respect for what we may not understand.