“Queeries” is Joseph Abbati’s inquiry on the masculine figure and forms of expression from a queer point of view. The paintings in this exhibit reveal masculine forms depicting queer identity, kinks, and beauty. 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. The paintings in “Queeries” are a means for queer men to celebrate the expression of their sexual identities and desires.
The paintings in Joseph’s work use graphic lines, contour, and figures. The outlines of the figures in the paintings are sometimes placed off-register like in printmaking. This produces a visual vibration and depth to the figures that contrast to the flatness of the painting. In some of the paintings, color blocks the contour of the figure to create a graphic image which references Joseph’s history and experience working in graphic design.
“Queeries” opened March 6, 2020 at Strut in San Francisco.
“LARGER THAN LIFE” began as a tribute to drag queens for their important contribution to our community. In the 60’s they fought back against discrimination at Stonewall and helped usher in the “gay liberation” movement. In the 80’s and 90’s they contributed their activism and advocacy to the well being and health of our community and have been at the forefront of the fight against HIV. In the 21st century they bring a rich narrative to LGBTQ history and stand as forebearers of gender fluidity. This artwork is informed by Joseph’s interest in image and gender. The portraits taken are enlarged to a “larger than life” scale and made into tapestries. In the historic tradition of tapestry art, the cloth they become transforms the photographs into modern records that document the contribution of drag queens to the LGBT community.
This video documents the exhibit’s presentations at Strut in March of 2017 where it first was shown. Later in 2017 it was exhibited at the office of Senator Scott Wiener in the State of California Building in San Francisco for Pride 2017. In the fall of 2018 it was presented at the campaign headquarters for Mark Leno for Mayor. In November of 2019 it was hung in San Francisco City Hall at the office of Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.
“Transformetions” is a work in progress as I experiment with using multi-screens with the videos I have done of myself morphing into other faces and images.
Trans is a video exploring other personas morphed to myself. These “transformetions” were collected originally in Snapchat from posts on Instagram (@jabbati). It’s a study of augmenting my reality with the outside world and creating a new narrative by rendering myself new to the world. Click image to view.
“DRAG SFO” was a video I made to go along with my art exhibit “LARGER THAN LIFE” at Strut. It is a compilation of photos and video clips from the San Francisco drag scene from November 2016 to February 2017 with performances from local drag queens. Some of these images became part of my “Plures Personas” series. Click image to view video.