As a queer artist, growing up and living in the Midwest, I oscillate between two worlds that, at once, allow me to feel connected to a community with its own history, struggle, communication, and inherent reality. The other world, codified by living in a non-urban environment, has presented me with a longing for a more tangible sense of belonging to the queer community.
This tension, created by alternating dichotomies, fields my vision and provides a basis for the work I create. My work primarily questions and reflects on queer experiences, relationships, and queer theory. While most of my work subtly connects to the impact of being queer from a non-urban perspective, some bodies of work run more parallel to those ideas and influences of rural settings in regards to a queer context.
This is especially true in a recent body of work ‘Queering the Landscape’. It is through this body of work that I attempt to present rural areas in the Midwest through a queer perspective. By referencing the ideas of queer reading, which is a way in which sexual minorities deconstruct public and private spaces; I approached the visual elements within the landscape to impart ideas and experiences of queer life. Assigning queer terminology to a traditional landscape, in an area that is often devoid of queer perspectives, challenges the invisible presence of queer elements within a non-urban community. Furthermore, the visual elements conveying these queer ideas are often not readily apparent until the viewer reads the title. This lack of clarity without a title or identification has a very symbiotic relationship to the excessive filtering often found in areas outside of urban settings.
Certainly technological advances in communication and the more visible presence in contemporary media have sparked a better environment for queer people in both urban and non-urban places. However, I believe non-urban areas still lag behind due to a ripple effect that slowly and less profoundly affects people in rural areas. A lack of community to rally and support leaves only an abstract presence for non-queer, and even queer, people to identify with.
You can find more about Dave and his work on his website, www.davekube.com