INTERRUPTIONS 1999-2000

Interruptions is a series of paintings that explores the fantasies, fears, and desire that manifest when Latino gay men seek to form intimate relationships. The work examines the forces of class, ethnicity, location, and sexuality and aims to interrupt these markers as they contribute to the construction of a person’s identity.

Fathers, Sons, and Sometimes Lovers, 96”x120”x 2”, oil on panels, 1999.

Looks at role models for men, media influences and the obstacles to intimacies
between men. My father is situated between two “monochromatic media males”
attempting communication but must pass through the patriarchal figure, by way of a
large chasm, in order to touch.  Religion, alcoholism, shame, and a death bed
symbolizing all those lost to AIDS are also images used in this visual symphony
depicting an emotional minefield.

Inescapable, 42”  x  58”  x  2”, Oil on Panels, 1999

Explores class differences and the difficulties it can present between two gay men involved in a long-term relationship. The painting utilizes agricultural fields (my parents were sharecroppers) and overlays one male gazing at another while he sleeps.  An askew center incident interrupts our easy viewing of the background narrative.  Perhaps a tryst-we’re not quite sure what is happening. Someone is on the phone-communication and the obstacles to it.  Our class backgrounds are inescapable.

Deseo (I Desire), 52”x24.5” x 2”, oil on panel, 2000.

It is another acoustic break as above in #3. This painting is a celebration of two men kissing and the tenderness of that act.

Hombres 2, 48”  x  64”  x  2”,  Oil on Panels, 2000, Begins with a family photograph of my maternal grandfather (on the left) toasting with a friend on his ranchito in the California central valley in the 1920’s.  What interrupts this painting from being just another family memory is the background has been deleted which leaves the two men floating in space against the warm wooden ground.  There is also a seam down the middle which appears to leave something out. Finally there is the strange gaze from my grandfather’s friend which when put together all speak to and question male camaraderie and its many manifestations throughout time.

 !Mira!  (Look!), 96”x52 x2”, oil on panels, 2000.
Tells the viewer to look.  But what are we to look at?  The plastic looking men (GI Joe dolls) in the background or the two men in the foreground (my grandfather and his brother) or could it be the house situated at the center being pointed to by a child’s hand?  Perhaps it is all three and the way they all overlap seamlessly.  This work speaks to the concept of home and where do we as men get our cues and clues as to how to make a house a home and more than just an edifice?

(No)  Te Necesito  [I (don’t) Need You], 40”  x  60”  x  2”, Oil on Panels, 2000,
depicts one man in the extreme,  foreground and another in midground.  The man on the right looks disgruntled.  In the background are what appear to be two monochrome stills of “plastic men” in awkward poses.  This work speaks to the vulnerability of one man professing his love for another.  Needing another human being can sometime be seen as weakness, hence the title.

He Looked Back, 52”x60”x2”, oil on panels, 2000.
juxtaposes three scenes into the act of looking back.  At the left, my father looks back but this time I have manipulated him to look at a Caravaggio-like Latino male. On the right a pixalated male (stand in for thinness of media imagery) reads a letter, perhaps a “dear John” letter?  This painting is about me looking back at the men I was and am attracted to and the difficulties I have had acting on those attractions.

Intimidades (Intimacies), 30”  x  50”  x  2”, Oil on Panels, 2000
juxtaposes two different couplings of men.  On the right is an old family photograph of my father’s friends exhibiting one form of intimacy.  On the left is a monochromatic sanguine panel of two men bedding together, another form of intimacy.

(La) Futura, 40”x60”x2”, oil on panels, 2000.

Takes its title from the San Francisco Latino gay mens’ nightclub to look at the past and to the possibilities for the future regarding mens’ relationships.  At the center is large Michelangelo-esque Latino man looking at us disconcertedly.   A stereotypical large Latina mother with a phone looks in from the right and a Latino man digs in the earth on the left.  Concerns for the future- If we are to move forward, we must not be afraid to exhume the past and look at it from a multitude of perspectives.  We must also not be ashamed of our working class origins and voice our concerns to society.  AIDS continues to be a major concern in our community.  Drug use and its connection to unsafe sex as well as the lack of information about AIDS needs to be a continued topic for discussion as we move into the 21st century.  We also need to remember the women in our lives, be they mothers, sisters, friends,  partners, wives or colleagues as we move forward and struggle against sexism, which affects us all as we struggle for greater depths of intimacy in all of our relationships.