Curated by Arlette Kayafas
Works by Caleb Cole, Kevin Bennett Moore and Tara Sellios
January 8-April 2, 2021

The Brookline Arts Center is pleased to present Three Strong Visual Voices curated by Arlette Kayafas at Beacon Street Gallery.

Caleb Cole

“The photographs in Traces began as pictorials in gay men’s magazines from the 1980s and 1990s, at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Men’s bodies exposed, on display, are then excised and replaced by hand with pieces of other images in the sequence.  Tracing the edges of their bodies with a blade is both tender and violent, and the resulting collages leave marks of absence that weigh heavy with loss.  The process of creating them also mimics memory’s inaccurate reconstructions, all of memory’s losses.  These images explore what it means to be seen, to be vulnerable, and speak to access and interest in queer and trans bodies, gendered notions of desire, and the elements of ourselves that we hide from view.”

Kevin Bennett Moore

“Inspired by films of the 1950s and ‘60s and societal constructs of gender, the work is an exploration on the formation of character, narrative, and identity. Drawing inspiration from my own experiences, I construct each image in order to direct my own narrative. These photographs are a world created to speak freely without interruption. By utilizing the past–both historic and cultural references–I am able to juxtapose queer existence with classic Americana. The images allude to something more enigmatic that discusses the façade that is American culture.”

Tara Sellios

“I strive to create images that elegantly articulate the totality of existence, focusing heavily life’s underlying instinctive, carnal nature in the face of fragility and impermanence. The concept of morality in relation to mortality has possessed a significant presence within the history of art, ranging from religious altarpiece imagery to the work of the vanitas painters. Manifesting melancholic, often damning themes with beauty and precision, as these artists did, results in an image that is seductive, forcing the viewer to look, despite its apparent grotesque and morbid nature. Through these images, I aspire to make apparent the restlessness of a life that is knowingly so temporary and vulnerable.

I have always thought of my work as theater or as a book, with each series being an act or a chapter. Prior to the work seen in Infernalis, the content of the imagery was fleshy and lush, using wine and blood as frequent allegorical symbols inspired by Bacchanalia and Christian iconography. This is a continuation of past series into a new narrative world where the feast has dried up and pleasure has subsided. The wine is replaced by dirt and the flesh has withered or burned away to the bone in a seemingly apocalyptic way. Insects, including moths, beetles, cicadas and locusts are significant characters, multiplying throughout the series and eventually overtaking the tableaux. They introduce a heightened sense of the frantic primal instinct that exists within all living creatures, including humans.

End of the world imagery and depictions of Hell from art history, as well as literature, have been a source of inspiration for Infernalis. These works possess a dramatic, eccentric, visceral chaos which can be alluded to the condition of existence in the world. Last Judgement paintings, like that from Michelangelo and Bosch, often depict skies filled with constellations of falling or flying angels, creatures and demons, which has become referential for the composition of insects in the work. The concept of Hell is varied and open to interpretation. It can be thought of as an actual physical terrain where sins are punished or as a psychological space carried within ourselves. It can be an entanglement with an obsession, fear or toxic pleasure. By addressing these themes, I intend to arouse an internal response in the viewer by making imagery that marries the harsh and intense with the elegant and romantic.”

A Sanctuary Community Collaboration
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” –Muhammad Ali