“The Queer Experience” focuses on the talent of a rainbow revolution

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Mark Exline’s series “Unfiltered.” // Photo by Hannah Scott

Art is a reflection of our stories—ones that we often hear again and again. It can be uncomfortable to be exposed to work that makes us question our world perception, but “The Queer Experience” is all about bringing back empathy and understanding amid life’s hurdles.

On June 17 InterUrban ArtHouse held a reception to celebrate the opening of “The Queer Experience” exhibition, a show which consists solely of art made by LGBTQIA+ creators.

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Piece by Cayla Cushing entitled Eye am Watching. // Photo by Hannah Scott

Upon walking in, visitors are immediately surrounded by drapery, paintings, drawings, and audio and visual media showcasing different perspectives. While the evening started with only a few spectators, guests continued to file in, and the space quickly became a celebration of friends, family, and loved ones.

Exhibition artist Mark Exline says, “I always say as queer people we have this magical gift that straight folks don’t have, and I think in some way, my art expresses that.”

Exline has a photographic series in the exhibition titled Unfiltered, which focuses on the rawness of humanity and being queer and includes multiple polaroids assembled to create one large image of himself.

“Cis-het folks don’t get to come out, which means there is no point in their lives when they get to say, ‘Fuck you, I’m going to be happy,’ to the literal entire world. When you have that moment when you realize your happiness is more important, you get this incredible freedom and you want everyone to have it, but the only way I think you can explain it is by celebrating your own happiness and sense of self,” Exline continues.

Through the display Exline works to show that nothing about his life needs to be filtered to be made palatable.

Many of the artists’ works were indeed inspired by their experiences as queer individuals, but some of them found that the power in sharing their art was story enough.

Cayla Cushing, an art teacher, spoke about how she often finds her job and her personal lives entangled in ways that she wishes they didn’t need to be.

“I feel like a lot of times teachers have to hide themselves, and you kind of have to be like a nun,” says Cushing. “I’ve had students ask if I’m a part of the LGBTQ community, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know if I can tell you, but I’ll let you make your own guesses.’”

Cushing’s piece in the exhibition is titled Eye am Watching, largely representing how she feels queer individuals are often looked at in society as well as how they view themselves.

“I’ve always loved the iconography of the eye and specifically the all-seeing eye,” says Cushing. “To me, it kind of has a dual meaning because it feels like I’m always observing other people, but then a lot of times it feels like people are staring or observing me.”

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Tomas Allison’s collage work. // Photo by Hannah Scott

Some individuals are even using the exhibition as their first venture into showing their art, such as Tomas Allison, who began experimenting with collage during the pandemic.

Allison is not an artist by trade but decided to start taking inspiration from items in his house when COVID hit to focus his mind elsewhere. For him, art doesn’t have to have a deep meaning from the beginning—you can find it as you go.

“I think collage is such an accessible medium,” says Allison. “It’s beautiful, because I don’t have to have an image in my head of what the end result was going to be. I like my art because I think you can pull whatever you want out of it.”

“The Queer Experience” is a free exhibition. For more information on the artists and work featured, you can visit here.

Categories: Art