Provo’s Writ & Vision is holding an exhibition to celebrate pride featuring the work of six local Utah County artists, some exhibiting for the first time. The works in Queer Expressions range from photography and painting to collage, with artists focusing on themes of identity, transition and individuality.
Josh Jacobs’ piece, “Hands” speaks to the individual and the universal found in many of these pieces. It is a collage with the base made of pages from scripture — the Bible and Book of Mormon — dipped in coffee, tea and wine. The two hands on top of the scripture pages represent the artist’s right hand, identified by a series of tattoos: on the left, the front of the hand, are tattoos of a paintbrush and anchor, while on the right, the back of the hand, a red “X” and a semicolon. The semicolon is a common tattoo among suicide survivors, signifying a sentence that could have ended, but instead decided to continue on. Placed on the hand, it is also generally a promise to themselves that their hands will not cause the end of their sentence. Jacobs’s piece is highly personal, but also speaks to the experience of many queer individuals who leave the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; a need to rebrand, to rediscover oneself without the context of religion and find new meaning and anchors in life.
Another striking piece is Blaire Ostler’s series Spots of Joy. These colorful, abstract, impasto paintings create compositions of contrasting marks in luminescent oil paint. In her artist statement, the poet, author and visual artist indicates she wanted to paint the moments of joy felt during the COVID-19 pandemic when moments of joy and happiness were scarce. The compositions also create a beautiful tapestry of individuality, different colors coming together to create a beautiful and diverse community.
Creating a beautiful and diverse community is something Queer Expressions at Writ & Vision strives for, celebrating the works of LGBTQIA+ local artists, whose work unfortunately can be overshadowed in Provo by the strong religious art tradition.
Queer Expressions, Writ & Vision, Provo, through June 30. The exhibit also features the work of Kathy Carlston, Karly Jade Catto, Natalie King, and Foxglove Adams.
Hannah Sandorf Davis graduated with a degree in art history with a minor in visual arts from Brigham Young University.