On Your Face collective have come together to occupy space, to respond and reflect upon the artworks that are part of the Glynn Vivian permanent collection, belonging to the people of Swansea.
Led by artist Fox Irving, and supported by the team at Glynn Vivian, On Your Face are celebrating queerness in all its forms; using a restricted collection that is, on the whole, largely heteronormative and blind to the lives of LGBTQ+ people and others. Through the group’s interactions with each other and the artworks in the Glynn Vivian’s collection, they have playfully explored and synthesised new narratives of what it means to be gay/lesbian, queer, and/or neurodivergent in Wales today.
Each member of the collective selected artworks from Glynn Vivian that they had a natural affinity with when exploring their own queer identity. Their reflections on these selected artworks challenge the current narrative behind that art, and open up a world of contemporary queer Welsh narratives. The project seeks to disrupt the solemn atmosphere of traditional gallery spaces through live performance, installation, workshops and communal art practices. Queer Reflections looks to strip back the layers of historical and contemporary art; to add new stories, new ways of looking and new histories and narratives that will not be lost. It is also a celebration of diverse identity: a positive reframing of conversations surrounding sexuality and gender in the arts.
'Figuring it out'
You could argue that the jug I am responding to is queer from its visuals alone - just look at that campy clown!
However, the jug also hides a network of hidden holes which complicates the drinking experience, causing its contents to spill on an unsuspecting user. It is this awkward and misguided attempt at function that is an important part of the queer experience. 'Figuring it out' is a crucial stage in queer youth as we clumsily try to force ourselves into a heteronormative mould that was never meant for us in the first place. Dowdall's work celebrates the art of queer failure, in rejecting conventions and not having everything figured out.
Photography by Polly Thomas