Monday, February 1, 2010

ON HIS MIND MONDAY: Leidy Churchman

I am convinced that T Magazine can (mostly) do no wrong, so I've been keeping an eye on their Nifty 50 profiles on up-and-comers/movers and shakers/rising stars/those that they have deemed worthy of their attention and a write-up basically. Of these, transgender artist Leidy Churchman's unassuming nature and queer-driven sensibility really caught my eye.

Tuttle Raft, 2007, oil on wood, bells and dowell

Churchman has a fascinating way of blending blocks of bold and sometimes diluted colors with the grainy texture of the wood he uses as a canvas. His works, as T Mag described, definitely recall those of Alex Katz and David Hockney. And like Hockney, he has an interesting way of presenting subtlety and erotic subtext. Although unlike Hockney's pool boys, the eroticism in Churchman's portraits of men–along with their brightly painted and blatantly exposed genitals–is not immediately noticeable and rather comes as a second thought. And don't get me wrong, I enjoy Hockney enough, but I appreciate Churchman's different approach. He asserts his queerness in an honest "it is what it is" kind of manner, but does so quietly, gently prodding one to pause and think for just a few seconds more.

I just find it refreshing that he isn't going for shock value in his works. And I appreciate T Mag's gesture to separate Churchman as "different," but isn't it ironic that "different" nowadays means that it's no longer hip to be ironic–that possibly a sincere approach to the creative process is now back in vogue?
Hug, 2007, Oil on wood

All paintings and images are from Horton Gallery, 504 W. 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011
Visit Churchman's website to see more works.

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