My Recent work communicates the embarrassment, shame, failure, violence and vulnerability that undergird typical, heroic projections of masculinity. I deploy alter egos and performative strategies in my work that act to introduce multiple ways of framing identity.
The characters that populate this work, Dandelion the Clown and H. Lloyd, are fictional, emotional projections of interior and exterior selves that populate my consciousness. Dandelion is a character who embodies my inner-most desires and represents the queerness I often feel compelled to repress. By contrast, H. Lloyd, a character based on the silent film actor Harold Lloyd, provides me with a charming, protective veneer that enables me to pass as “man enough”. These figures function to both conceal and expose my vulnerabilities and deviation from heterosexist conventions.
The works made by these characters traffic in the language of masculine abstract-action heroics. In his pieces, Dandelion emerges as a latter day Pierrot whose gestural abstractions are used to illustrate the foolish misery of the painter while the pieces made by H. Lloyd revel in populist absurdity. Warholian portraits pit macho painterly abstraction against postmodern parody, thereby mocking and exposing the masculine power dynamics identified with mid-century “patriarchs” like Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning.
To underscore the artifice of these fictional alter egos, I also present works that are attributed to myself, Henry Gepfer, as a mediator poised between twinning personas. Unlike the works of Dandelion and Lloyd, pieces attributable to this third, “true” self dispense with an explicit figure alluding, instead, to an abject body whose traces linger in the sweat and secretions of shredded underclothing.
I am relying heavily on both performance and process to create an object-oriented body of work. I draw on the histories and vocabularies of painting, printmaking, sculpture and photography, complicating the often arbitrary division and separation among different media. Both aesthetically and personally, I feel increasingly comfortable moving away from a literal and metaphoric center and finding power, instead, in the margins. In this recent work, I locate my investigation of identity in complicating notions of masculinity and diversifying my artistic practice.