On a hot summer night in 1968, the streets outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City erupted as queer folk defended a space where they could be themselves, free of judgement, hatred and assaults from the police.
June became Pride Month. The rights we’ve earned since then are not set in stone. The Supreme Court decision on Roe versus Wade changes that.
The rights of LGBTQI+ folk are still under relentless attack. Our community faces discrimination and efforts to undermine our human rights.
Despite this – or because of this – artists continue to tell their stories through their work. Here’s nine artists to get to know and take home with you.
It’s not all tits, balls and straps for Pride Month.
1. Dennis Golding
Dennis Golding is a Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist from the north west of NSW and was born and raised in Sydney. Working in a range of mixed media including painting, video, photography and installation, Golding critiques the social, political and cultural representations of race and identity. His practice is drawn from his own experiences living in urban environments and through childhood memories.
2. Gerwyn Davies
In an age of endless self-imaging, the work of Gerwyn Davies explores the expanded potentials for self-presentation that emerge on the stage of the digital image.
Using readymade and everyday materials, Gerwyn assembles characters through costume that simultaneously conceal, transform and abstract the body. These highly stylised and exaggerated transformations are regenerative as they form part of an ongoing inventory of photographic self-projections.
Gerwyn’s practice is intentionally excessive and playful. In each work a new character steps forward within a hyperreal set, asking us to reflect upon the body, costume, context and movement. As we dress and step into our daily roles, Gerwyn’s artistic practice is a great reminder of the narratives we construct for ourselves, backed with a hint of humour.
The double bind of a figure both conspicuous and nowhere to be seen, hiding in plain sight, triggers the work’s investment in queering the act of representation and renegotiating the terms of queer in/visibility.
Adopting the excessive aesthetics of Camp, these works explore the potentials for performative self-presentations to become queer cocoons, inside which, artists creatively redistribute their bodies to crystallise new formations.
3. Emma Beer
Emma Beer is the youngest artist to present a solo exhibition in the history of the Drill Hall gallery. Developed in response to the scale and architecture of the exhibition space, Emma Beer’s paintings embody the enigma of light.
Energised and resonant, shimmering with vitality, these works are alive to all of light’s permutations, responsive to its delicate shifts in tone and hue, shade and shadow.
Characterised by this mutability, Beer’s layered fields create radiant interactions of space and depth: paint is stretched, pulled and manipulated, pigments are thinned, veiled and extended, before being reconfigured as strident skeins that block and structure.
4. Dan Kyle
From his studio and garden on Darug land, on the fringe of the Wollemi National Park, Dan Kyle observes the changes in the landscape on an immediate daily basis. Fluctuations in light, temperature and season filter through his palette.
The recent major environmental extremes and shifts have pushed Kyle’s painting and process to expand in response. Paper daisies were prolific after recent bushfires, preferring the disturbed ground to grow and spread. Flowers of the fringes, the paper daisies mark the zone between humans and the wilderness. This invasive, yet beautiful flower impressed itself upon the landscape, and compelled Kyle to print it and other found flowers and plants repeatedly, meditatively.
5. Dylan Mooney
Dylan Mooney is a proud Yuwi, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander man from Mackay in North Queensland working across painting, printmaking, digital illustration and drawing.
Influenced by history, culture and family, Mooney responds to community stories, current affairs and social media. Armed with a rich cultural upbringing, Mooney now translates the knowledge and stories passed down to him, through art. Legally blind, the digital medium’s backlit display allows the artist to produce a high-impact illustrative style with bright, saturated colour that reflects his experiences with keen political energy and insight.
This blending of digital technology and social commentary is a uniting of the artist’s sense of optimism – pride within the works exude with profoundness and substance.
6. Lea Durie
The ceramics of Lea Durie are contemporary, earthy and textural. Created for the lover of a slower life and excellent design, they shape how we live and what we do into moments of pleasure. The handmade ceramics bring beauty into the ordinary, the everyday.
In many ways, Durie’s work brings physicality to the ideas portrayed in Mrs. Dalloway, the revolutionary novel by Virginia Woolf. Woolf was one of the first writers to understand that there are no insignificant lives, only inadequate ways of looking at them. So too, the work of Durie embodies just about everything one needs to know about the extraordinary depth of ordinary life.
7. Tony Albert
Tony Albert’s multidisciplinary practice investigates contemporary legacies of colonialism, prompting audiences to contemplate the human condition. Drawing on both personal and collective histories, Albert explores the ways in which optimism can be utilised to overcome adversity. His work poses important questions such as how do we remember, give justice to, and rewrite complex and traumatic histories.
Albert’s technique and imagery are distinctly contemporary, displacing traditional Australian Aboriginal aesthetics with an urban conceptuality. Appropriating textual references from sources as diverse as popular music, film, fiction, and art history, Albert plays with the tension arising from the visibility, and in-turn, the invisibility of Aboriginal People across the news media, literature, and the visual world.
8. Liam Benson
Liam Benson is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice incorporates performance, photography, video and textiles. His work is informed by working collaboratively with diverse communities through an ongoing conversation about how culture, sub-culture and identity interrelate and evolve.
Benson’s work deconstructs the social perceptions of gender, race, culture, sexuality and identity by cross-referencing art, popular culture and media language. His work serves to celebrate the evolution of these social archetypes and explore the possibilities within the cross influence of socially entrenched identities and cultural and sub-cultural amalgamation.
9. Ray Monde
Ray Monde, that’s me. My work looks at the landscape as a place that brings comfort and disquiet. My technique involves hand-tearing and over-painting fragments of paper sourced from magazines. These elements are layered into detailed compositions that speak to the my relationship with the physical and emotional landscapes that surround me.
Many of my works have a central naked figure, speaking to vulnerability and isolation in a culture that’s driven by hyper masculinity.