Devan Shimoyama

Pittsburg, PA

June 1 - 30, 2018

Recommended by artist Mickalene Thomas

Artist Statement

I seek to reimagine the black queer male body as both desirous and desirable. He is a creature of both mystery and magic in a developmental stage of locating his origins.  A certain reticence about gay male sexuality comes into question, followed by an exploration of locating the queer black male body’s role in society and even within the microcosm of gay male politics. Popular culture often uses gay black male stereotypes and coded language in comedy or music such as Martin Lawrence, Arsenio Hall, Eddie Murphy, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Lenny Kravitz. However, we so rarely are presented with black gay masculinity in truth. Hereby my paintings explore the relationship between celebration and silence in queer culture and sexuality. Using primarily self-portraiture, I renounce the notion of one’s body belonging to oneself. My body serves as a portal for the viewer to enter and undergo a symbiotic relationship with him. Fairy tales, folklore and mythology greatly influence the narrative element within my paintings, alluding to a creation myth of the queer black male. I use the language of classical mythology and contemporary stereotype to illuminate a small fraction of that identity.Through the tactility of the thickly poured and splattered paint to glistening beaded jewelry, I create silhouettes of figures bursting with divine ecstasy. Often in solitude, immersed in their own tears, these figures conjure subtle magical moments. These figures are stripped, dauntless and often brazenly inviting in their demeanor, allowing the viewer to see these private instances.  They exist as wholly magical, yet universally human. 

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