NOON Projects is delighted to present Sirkus, our inaugural show featuring works from Chase Biado, Travis Boyer, James Cherry, Artor Jesus Inkerö, Johanna Jackson, Maren Jensen, Daniel Long, and Christian Rogers. The exhibition brings together painting, ceramics, drawing, and musical performance to share visions of queer joy, liberation, and the erotic.
The exhibition title is a reference to the late-night hotspot named Sirkus that operated in Reykjavik until 2007. Sirkus was the epicenter for the free-thinking culture that was erupting out of Iceland in the early aughts. Night after night the tiny bar packed in artists, musicians, party-goers, poets, tourists, and those looking for camaraderie. The bar was a typical small Icelandic house, brightly coloured and clad in corrugated tin, but Sirkus was decorated with painted penguins and palm trees. Crossing the threshold meant entering a portal into another world, a warm, welcoming paradise for play and liberation - even if only for one night.
In his large-format 3-D paintings, Christian Rogers paints worlds in which to experience freedom and pleasure. Paper-mache forms come out from the canvas like aerial views of gay cruising parks, big-top tents, or bodies. These forms are surrounded by psychedelic paths, where clippings of men from vintage pornography are collaged in between bright repetitive forms. The men depict the ecstasy which is waiting for us just behind the thin veil of transparent paint.
Maren Jensen’s drawings are the dimly lit universes that live within her mind. The solicitous drawings illustrate transcendental planes warped and woven together and mythical creatures and earthly objects float happily together within the dreamlike landscape.
If Christian’s paintings and Maren’s drawings are the setting, the other works are the characters, visions, and energies within these worlds.
Travis Boyer’s paintings speak of underground networks, forests, phalluses, mythical realities, and regeneration. Using traditional craft techniques Travis paints mushrooms that appear scientific yet surreal. This series of silk paintings of men, created with photographer Joe McShea who he met during annual summer trips to Fire Island, (the long-time safe haven of pleasure), recall the feelings of joy and community that the island provides for the artist.
The microcosm in Daniel Long’s painting is without plane or scale and quickly invites the viewer to enter it. Lily pads provide places for launching and landing for the frogs and winged spirit creatures that live within the realm.
Chase Biado’s paintings take us deeper into the subtle world. Chase speaks of goblins as beings where gender is not automatically assigned. These goblins reference the aesthetics of science fiction and fantasy, with their elongated fingers and ears and psychic all-seeing eyes. Their clothing from distinct historical periods confirm to us that these beings live underground as well as among us on earth.
Back in the garden, Johanna Jackson’s ceramics are the picnic in this Garden of Eden. The apple reminds us of the original utopian garden and the rapture that ensued. The plaid motif is familiar, like tablecloths and floor tiles, setting the stage for nourishment and joy.
James Cherry’s drawing is layered with meditative marks that leave a personal history of the artist on the paper. The more graphic liquid droplets depict a natural explosion, such as a geyser or ejaculation. This explosion is unrelenting and eternal, a fountain of joy….
Artor Jesus Inkerö blesses the show and the gallery with a takeaway poster poem. Artor creates these marker poems as an ongoing series, with this one created for Sirkus. We hope you take one home with you as a gesture of our gratitude of coming to see the show.
On February 19, musician Walt McClements will play a special performance at the gallery among the works . Walt’s latest record, A Hole in the Fence is about the beauty and wonder of secret worlds. Walt writes, “I think of the record as a fragmented narrative connecting threads of the somewhat hidden worlds I’ve traveled through my life, from underground music and punk communities to train hopping and gay cruising grounds.”
bell hooks spoke about queerness “as being about the self that is at odds with everything around it and has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.” Further, Esther Perel speaks of eroticism as “the qualities of vitality, curiosity, and spontaneity that make us feel alive. Play is when risk is fun. But you can’t play when you are in a situation of danger, anxiety, or contraction. So you have to feel safe in order to play.” The artists in this exhibition have taken risks and created these places that bell hooks speaks of — visions of pleasure, joy, and the erotic.
This exhibition is family-style, with artists who you might feel like you have known for a long time, and some which you have just met, simultaneously may feel like long-time deep connections. Our aim for this show as well as with NOON Projects is to bring into being an energetic space to feel safe and welcomed so that you too may play, experience joy, and feel liberation.
Through March 12, 2022
Artor Jesus Inkerö
Through March 12, 2022