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Joseph Abbati Bio

Joseph Abbati’s work addresses concerns over visibility and body-positive celebration in the queer community. Abbati’s paintings focus on queer male pleasure, gaze, and desire.  He is interested in the ways that social standards (on social media especially) pressure queer men themselves to fit into heteronormative expectations.  His works act as an archive of the censored, but they are also just plain fun in their approach. His titles and imagery deal up  witty puns and visual jokes through which we can see how much Abbati reveals in humor and levity – mobilizing them as clever tools to be thrown in the face of oppressive (and likely more boring) forces.

In life, and in social media in particular, queer men often need to censor themselves to fit into heteronormative norms.  This self-censorship may bring shame to queer men when they cannot express who they are. Queer men must continue to seen without constantly questioning their place in society and how they are judged. Our lives are part of the greater human condition and what we share with the world adds to the depth of our understanding of what it means to be human.

The paintings in Joseph’s work are figurative and resemble print making at times. The work is based off of an archive of over 50,00 photographs he has collected documenting the lives of queer men.  Abbati uses these photographs to create new narratives through his use of cropping, color, titles, or composition.   There is a to the flatness to the manner he applies his paint. He mixes crushed marble to his paints to give them a matte appearance. The graphic or photographic appearance of the paintings references Joseph’s history and experience working in graphic design. 

The paint is applied in variety of ways.  Sometimes they begin with a series of lines painted of the surface.  These form the composition parameters.  He then adds form, contour, and shadowing with brushes, fingers, or air brush.  The colors are usually limited to two to four colors.  They start off with a duotone image he creates.  This graphic technique has been more central to his most recent work that focuses the eye on the figure more that the expression of the paint strokes. It references pop art in its approach with our culture’s obsession for photographic content on social media. 

Joseph’s work has been seen in group exhibits in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Redding, and San Diego.  He has also had three solo exhibits in association with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s Strut, a queer mens health clinic.  In 2017 he presented an exhibit titled “LARGER THAN LIFE,” where he presented a series of San Francisco drag queen portraits made into large scale tapestries. These portraits have been shown at Strut, the office of Senator Scott Wiener, Mark Leno’s campaign headquarters, and currently on display at San Francisco City Hall at the office of Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.

CV

Joseph Abbati

jabbati@mac.com

Exhibits

2021 (July) “PROUD+ 2021” group exhibit at The Studio Door, San Diego, CA

2021 (June) “The Art Hunger” group exhibit in Redding, CA

2021 (March) “Double Vision” group exhibit at Bromfield Gallery, Boston, MA

2021 (February) “LOVE HEART LUST” group exhibit by Kunsthaus RoZig , Los Angeles, CA

2020 (December) “COVID Dreams,” online exhibit at Artavita, Santa Barbara, CA

2020 (October) “The 6th Annual Autumnal,” group exhibit at ArtHouse NYC

2020 (October) “Art for Aids,” exhibit and auction, San Francisco

2020 (September) “Introductions 2020” group exhibit at Root Division, San Francisco

2020 (July) “Diasporic Futurism” group exhibit at Root Division, San Francisco

2020 (June) “Eros, C’est la Vie,” group exhibit at Gallery 110, Seattle, WA 

2020 (May) “Windows For Harvey,” painting of Harvey Milk in group exhibit

2020 (March) “Queeries” solo exhibit of paintings at Strut, San Francisco

2020 (February) “The Artist As Curator” at Senator Scott Wiener’s office in the California State Building in San Francisco, curated and exhibited with 12 Bay Area artists

2019 (October) “Art for Aids,” exhibit and auction, San Francisco

2019 (September) “Language and Letters” group exhibit at SFWA Gallery

2019 (August) “The Dirty Dozen” group exhibit benefitting Art for Aids, San Francisco

2019 (June) “Make You Mark,” group exhibit at Art Attack SF Gallery, San Francisco

2019 (June) “QueerEyes,” paintings in group exhibit at Senator Scott Wiener’s office in the California State Building San Francisco

2018 (December) “ADVANCED,” at Senator Scott Wiener’s office in the California State Building in San Francisco, group exhibit with 28 San Francisco Bays Area artists 

2018 (September) “A Beautiful Indiscretion” solo exhibit of photo collages and paintings at Strut, San Francisco

2018 (September) Art for Aids, exhibit and auction, San Francisco

2018 (September), paintings in group exhibit at Wessling Gallery, San Francisco

2018 (June) “Queerky,” paintings in group exhibit at Senator Scott Wiener’s office in the California State Building San Francisco

2018 (May) “Windows For Harvey,” tapestry of Harvey Milk for group exhibit

2018 (February) “Nite Life,” photographs in group exhibit at Senator Scott Wiener’s office in the California State Building San Francisco

2017 (October) Art for Aids, exhibit and auction, San Francisco

2017 (October) “Housing,” photographs in group exhibit at Senator Scott Wiener’s office in the California State Building San Francisco

2017 (June) “LARGER THAN LIFE” tapestries of drag queens at Senator Scott Wiener’s office, San Francisco

2017 (June) “Pulse: Acts of Love and Kindness,” group exhibit and auction, Ft. Mason, San Francisco

2017 (March) “LARGER THAN LIFE” tapestries of drag queens at Strut, San Francisc

Curating 

At Senator Scott Wiener’s office in the California State Building in San Francisco

2020 (June) “SF Pride – 50 Years” an online photographic exhibit: http://www.sfpride2020.gallery 

2020 (February) “The Artist As Curator”, curated exhibit with 12 Bay Area artists 

2019 (September) “We Belong – Pertenecemos” curated exhibit 23 Bay Area LantinX artists 

2019 (June) “QueerEyes,” curated exhibit with 32 San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ artists 

2019 (March) “East on West,” curated exhibit with 26 Bay Area artists from the Asian diaspora 

2018 (December) “ADVANCED,” curated exhibit 28 Bay Area artists over 55 years of age 

2018 (September) “eARTh,” curated exhibit for the Global Climate Action with Bay Area artists

2018 (June) “Queerky,” curated exhibit for Pride month with 21 Bay Area LGBTQ artists

2018 (February) “Nite Life,” curated exhibit about night life with 23 Bay Area artists

2017 (October) “Housing,” curated exhibit about housing issues with 18 Bay Area artists 

2019 (November) “Abstrax,” Radian Gallery group exhibit of Bay Area abstract artists 

2012 at Design Within Reach, group exhibit of art pillows featuring 18 artists from Visual Aid 

Education

2013 MFA (accredited for teaching) Visual Communications, FIDM, San Francisco

Associate of Arts, Liberal Arts, Sacramento City College

Events and Articles

  • July, 2021 California Arts Council panelist to adjudicate “Emerging Artists” for fellowship grants
  • Proud+ Exhibition Catalog, The Studio Door Gallery, San Diego, CA, July 2021
  • “Queer Quarterly” Magazine feature, March,2021 
  • UN//TITLED: An Anthology of Queer Contemporary Art (2016 – 2020) featured artist being published in April 2021 by Balaclava.Q (John Hopper Publishing)
  • Amplify: Juror’s Choice Award Winner 2020, ArtSpan Open Studios celebration
  • Catalog feature for “Introductions 2020” at Root Division.
  • Led Zoom online panel discussion for exhibit “SF Pride 2020 – 50 Years” I curated with seven photographers and Senator Scott Wiener June 26, 2020
  • Panelist on “Fighting Back | Lessons from AIDS for COVID-19: The Role of Art & Artists in a Pandemic, Part  I & II” for the GLBT Historical Society.  May 13, 2020 and April 8, 2020
  • August 15th, 2019, Senator Scott Wiener submitted a California Senate Resolution to commend Joseph Abbati for his service to the people of California.
  • Balaclava.Q- Abstract Activism,” online magazine feature promoting and creating platforms for queer artists, 2019
  • “The Fight” magazine, July 2019, article on Pride exhibit I curated for Senator Wiener’s Office
  • Bay Are Reporter weekly newspaper, Wednesday Jun 26, 2019, feature
  • Drag Queen Art Adorns Senator Wieners Office,” San Francisco Examiner, July 2017

• “Larger Than Life,” Shining Stars by Steven Underhill, The Bay Area Reporter, March 2017