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Abingdon Studios

Jonathan Beaver
Liverpool, UK

Title: Are you a bit bent, mate?
Medium: Textiles

Beaver originally hails from Southport, close to the seemingly camp, fun, freedom and expressiveness of Blackpool. But the artist never felt a sense of belonging in their  hometown, with its politically conservative and narrow-minded attitudes. Beavoer  was thinking of a common motif to represent both towns and physically connect them, on a map, in an albeit queer-straight line! leading to a stick of rock: masculine, rigid and linear in appearance, but colourful, flamboyant and sweet in taste. They  began to think of manipulating the object and making it more ‘bent’-like, as reclaiming the negativity in terms of the gesture/action (of a limp) wrist equaling weakness or less manly. Traditionally, this seaside treat has a destination name ‘thread’ throughout and after receiving lucky dip letter, G; the artist decided to go for using the not-so-subtle word, 'gay’. A word which can wound and hurt but one of empowerment and belonging. These stick souvenirs can represent the pillared heteronormativity that our society is primarily founded on but also a sense of queerness- playful, campy and fun. This exploration and perception of the tropes of what is 'straight' or 'gay' is a point of intrigue  informing Beaver’s  research and practice.
Tuesday Oct 5 2021