Mosquitoes don't typically wear thongs--or underwear of any kind, for that matter. Nor do they have middle-aged-man features like wild chest hair and beer guts.
But Clive Barker, an artist and author better known for his horror novellas and screenplays than for his artwork--he wrote horror greats like Hellraiser and Candyman--gives the blood-sucking insect these distinct and not-so-desirable human attributes in Tarantula Season: Dance of Four Artists, a group exhibition on view at North Park's 4 Walls Gallery.
The show is a visual commentary on the recent Pride festival--artists Barker, Valerie Jacobs, Sam Frazier and Mary Ann Luera identify as queer.
The work in Tarantula Season, though, isn't just about being gay. It's about using the word 'queer' and investigating the notion of being queer as simply being different. The curator of the show, a very queer (as in unique) man himself--who asked to remain anonymous to keep the focus on the show and not his curatorial skills--says he wanted to see how the media would react to the word 'queer.'
'I wanted to see who would use the gay terminology,' he explained. 'Who gets to say or use the term? It's about the Q word.'
But again, the work isn't only about lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. While Luera's paintings of beautiful young men comment on objectification in gay culture, one of Frazier's paintings, a colorful screen-printed piece depicting a pretty and intricate doily pattern next to a repeating line of threatening hand grenades, speaks more generally about differences. Frazier's piece shows what happens when two seemingly opposing forces come face to face--in this instance, it's beauty.
Tarantula Season: Dance of Four Artists is on view at 4 Walls Gallery, 3813 Ray St. in North Park, through Sept. 5. 619-501-0879 or www.4WallsGallery.com.