David Lozano at the Hyde Park Art Center

by Danny Orendorff
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Jul 4, 2008

The artwork of Chicago-based queer artist David Lozano is on display now through mid-November at the Hyde Park Art Center. The showing features a handful of gorgeous paintings and a multi-level site-specific mural.

Situated in the front corridor and second floor of the Center, Lozano's exhibition, titled "Queer Interiors and Phthalo Blue," is a successful showcase of the artist's signature brightly painted compositions and "sublime" vision of homosexual love.

Artwork regarded as having a "queer sensibility" often revolves around depictions of the body. Think of Tom of Finland's drawings, or the photographs of Pierre & Gilles. Lozano's work seems instead to investigate the more subtle, compositional dichotomy of figuration and abstraction, or the equally salient queer theme of the obscure versus the open, such as "in the closet" or "out."

The bisected display of his work almost, while arguably a product of lack of space at the Center, befits this exact mood of the work, as well as Lozano's implied interest with interiors. While figures do appear at times within Lozano's work, most notably as an aspect in the upstairs portion of his mural, his interest in the sublime and corresponding choice of color and material combinations are what emerges from the work as the most provocative and sensual aspects.

"Growing up in the age of AIDS," said Lozano in an Emailed interview, "has instilled this idea of sex being sublime; that it makes one conscious of one’s mortality while awestruck."

"Growing up in the age of AIDS," said Lozano in an Emailed interview, "has instilled this idea of sex being sublime; that it makes one conscious of one's mortality while awestruck."

The painting, "An Act in Orange" (2007), features the head and torso of a presumed male lover made obscure by swirls of paint, glimmering sequins, and more painterly portions resembling the interior-design of a home (wood floor, ornate wallpaper, maybe a linearly designed table cloth), all covered by a thick, dripping expanse of bright orange resin that appears like it'd be literally wet to the touch. It's as though Lozano has taken the entire bedroom scenario, lit by the warm orange glow of a morning sun, and processed the scene through a blender - or maybe it all swirled together by way of messing about the bed-sheets.

Another highlight, "No Place Like Home" (2006), features a painted patch of wood-floor and what seems to be green and white wallpaper, both overtaken by impossibly named shapes and forms of bright color, made increasingly vivid by the inclusion of radiant pink and blue sequins used not merely as a decorative element but as a vital material within the overall work.
While the sequins may hint towards a camp aesthetic, Lozano's treatment of the material is sweeter than cheesy, more designer and less Ice Capades. The forms produced are like the overall compositions themselves - lovely and abstract, beyond description and leaving you curiously lightheaded.

This just may be the indescribable "Queer sublime" aesthetic Lozano is hoping to capture in his work. A curatorial statement accompanying Lozano's exhibition states that the artist's attempts to depict "the steamy nature of human intimacy" in his work, and while this is clearly observed, it comes together seeming a lot simpler, much prettier, and plenty more abstract than that.

David Lozano's "Queer Interiors & Phthalo Blue" is open at the Hyde Park Art Center (http://www.hydeparkart.org/) until November 16. The exhibition is just one of several shows on view currently at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Av. 773-324-5520.

Danny Orendorff is an arts journalist and organizer in Chicago. He can be reached at Dan[dot]Orendorff[at]Gmail[dot]com


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