Joe Sinness is an American artist interested in queer culture and the way it objectifies and simultaneously preserves stars and icons – erotica writers, pornstars, performers, etc. Because of this fascination with objects and preservation, he finds that the tradition of still lifes suits him. Plants, of course, have long been a still-life staple, and are also an appropriate choice for exploring queer culture.
Traditionally feminine, men who dabble in wearing floral prints or floral arranging, for example, are often perceived as or actually are homosexual. In addition, plants themselves run the gamut of the sexual spectrum, from having males and females with separate parts, to hermaphroditic plants with both parts, to plants who reproduce without exchange of genetic material at all. They can be flamboyant or subdued, and are ever-changing. I particularly like the use of the hostas in the first image, as these plants are dormant all winter and emerge triumphant in the spring. Combined with the snake shedding its skin, the piece paints a beautiful picture of transformation, rebirth and, in the realm of homosexual lifestyles, “coming out.”
Images © Joe Sinness