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ROBERT MARTIN earned their BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Stout (2017) and their MFA at the University of Colorado-Boulder (2021). A driving intention of their work is to demonstrate a reality of queerness within rural spaces in order to combat the insidious notions that queerness is somehow unnatural, unprecedented and thus unwelcome.
Queerness exists in rural America, yet it remains utopian to imagine its acceptance. Here they invoke José Esteban Muñoz’s formulations of and around the term “utopia” as explored in his book, Cruising Utopia. Muñoz’s theorizes that queer futurity is dependent upon an awareness of a queer past with the intention of critiquing a (perhaps heteronormative) present.
The work is a layered combination of rural aesthetics, queer ephemera, and contemporary imagery, and as Robert ruminate on the interplay of these elements I am generating utopias.
Painting gives them a tool to tangibly imagine queer futures while honoring a queer past.