The purpose of pattern and decoration is to render an object innocuous within a space. The pattern itself may be filled with rich color and imagery, but conversely, the objects are utilitarian in nature; drapes, upholstery, and wall coverings exist to fill space with visual interest greater than solid color. However, when pattern visually supersedes the object that it covers, by means of scale and measure, it becomes ostentatious or even garish. This does not affect the quality of the design, but does affect the once bland nature of the object. Drapes begin to dominate a space and wallpaper pushes in on a volume.
I create highly patterned three-dimensional geometric forms. These objects are arranged together to form an installation designed to envelope the viewer in color and pattern, and in turn, the installation forms a structure and volume that surrounds the viewer. The highly patterned environment is over-stimulating, as the viewer is drawn from the overall piece, into the pattern, and then to the small elements from which the design is constructed.
Ivy, flowers, and other stylized versions of nature provide the architecture for most traditional pattern. The patterns I create replace these idyllic notions of beauty with images of gay male pornography, the scale of which is only evident upon close inspection. The images are digitally cropped and reflected, copied and pasted to create designs that reference traditional patterns.
Pornographic images are choreographed to arouse the viewer with voyeur-like access into a private act. The Internet has allowed a larger audience to access images and video, as well as connect with other viewers anonymously. Viewers are now each other’s object of arousal; pornography completed anonymously, and broadcast publicly into the privacy of each other’s home. In this way, the Internet is the new back alley or public restroom cruising destination, allowing men to freely expose their private desires alone, together.
The opening of this new forum of free sexual expression is paradoxical to a growing conservative view of sexuality, pushing men into secret rendezvous and second lives, all from the comfort of home. These second lives are evident in stories shared on the Internet of sexual exploits, many or which begin with, “I consider myself a straight man”, yet end in an anonymous encounter with another man. There is a clear connection to society’s stigma against expression of sexuality, homosexual, or otherwise. Although there are geographical, and countless other variables that affect the strength of hetero-normative pressure, the Internet, and the gay porn industry’s profits supply proof that it remains a strong force.
By conflating homosexual male pornography and pattern I establish spaces that are a portrayal of the typecast nature of homosexuality. The viewer becomes the key component as they physically occupy the space, view the images, and fulfill the potential of the constructed volume through their own associations and judgment.