Barczak - Time and Time Again

Clay Barczak

Time and Time Again

My artwork is an exploration of multimedia material interactions with a conceptual focus on my personal relationship with religion, queerness, and identity as a gender nonconforming individual born and raised in the American South. I approach my artwork from a painter’s perspective with specific attention to saturated color and a consistent integration of collaged elements, which serve to evoke a disjointed feeling in the viewer. The aesthetics I employ speak to a queer experience: one of selection, curation, and attention; to fix, to hide, and to support the composition; to support that which is abject from the norm.

I draw from family photos from my childhood, high-fashion photography, traditionally feminine trinkets, and religious iconography in my visual vernacular as I construct the characters and scenes in my artistic world. The presentation of these characters is direct; eye contact is essential in my compositions, as my work forces the viewer to negotiate their relationship with the composition in each element. I often incorporate text as an aspect of my artwork to accentuate the intention and mood of the piece; however, the text also speaks to my fascination with roadside advertising for churches, religious pamphlets, and other forms of public canvassing regarding religious issues. The culmination of these aesthetics and techniques serves as a distilled version of my internal struggles with my experiences.

I work with digital collage frequently as reference for my acrylic and oil paintings. The blending of the digital and more traditional realm of painting is extremely significant to me; I am working this way in order to queer an extremely masculine-dominated space of painting through the presentation of queer ideas. This application of queerness in a primarily male space speaks to a major concept for me of unadulterated queer existence as resistance.

Time and Time Again (2023) is an inspection into my relationship with my father as a support system throughout my life. In tumultuous times during my experience exploring my identity I was able to lean on my father for unconditional support. All the while still navigating feelings of confusion, loss of identity, and loneliness.