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IN A BOY'S DREAM: Queer Figure Paintings and Drawings 1997-2011

a QAR exclusive by René Capone

This collection of work features the most representative examples of what I have tried to accomplish for over a decade. Arranged chronologically, these figures tell the story of a journey we have all travelled in one way or another. Perhaps the most basic of human drives is that of survival. We go to great lengths to defend our bodies, minds, and souls from outside threats – and sometimes those from within. Yet, the feeling of vulnerability is one of the few things in life that make us feel alive, and overcoming our vulnerabilities is one of the few things that give our lives meaning. My work explores this paradox and documents my personal journey with feelings of vulnerability.

I have always had a strong appreciation for the esthetics of beauty, both classically and romantically. Unfortunately, abused children from trailer parks often have very little beauty in their lives, so I searched long and hard to find it wherever I could. As I matured, I willfully over-compensated for this deprivation – believing I could force beauty onto my artwork, surroundings, and relationships. Naturally, I began to paint my lovers. I invested everything I had in my artwork and these relationships. In my youth, these were the only things in which I saw hope that there could be something better than what I’ve always known. This hope followed me through some strange and complicated years in my life. Sometimes hope can be a dangerous thing – especially for someone who has never before experienced emotional honesty or the unusual comfort that vulnerability can offer. As is common among severely abused children, I learned to be distrustful, distant, and insecure. Vulnerability was something to fear, not embrace. But I always knew there was something else inside of me under all those emotional and physical scars.

For a long time, art was the only way that “something else” had any real voice. I shared many of my deepest, saddest, and most complicated emotions with my boyfriends – the subjects in most of my artwork. Thus, the imagery depicted in my work has always had a very charged longing associated with it – an almost desperate need for what some would call “strings attached.” These strings affected my art, my lovers, and undoubtedly my audience as well. Many of the pieces in this collection have a strong sexual current running through them; however, I wouldn’t consider my work “erotic.” I’ve used sexual imagery to portray a wide-range of emotions – particularly the often-conflicting feelings that come with being vulnerable. That emotive quality is something I’ve always strived for. I never set out to make a piece of art with sex as the subject matter. It is always the thoughts and emotions underlying sex that interest me most. But sex is like frosting on a cake: it should be there.

I write this at the ripe-old age of 32, feeling like I've lived many lives. But I’m still here and I’d like to think that there is a lot of art left in me with new emotions yet to discover. I am blessed to have such a wonderful audience and to have been able to make art my career. Thank god because I am the world’s worst office employee. I’m like a terrorist at the copy machine. It’s best I just stay an artist for everyone’s safety.

My artistic style has remained relatively consistent over the past 14 years. However, my work can be viewed as comprising of three different phases: the early “Pure figure” stage (Images 1-43), followed by what I will simply call “Layered Horizontal and Vertical Lines Stage" (Images 44-56),” and lastly “Story Telling” (Images 57-68) – my personal favorite.

-San Francisco, May 2011

THE PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS

1. Vulnerable, 22”x30,” color pencil and ink on paper, 1997

2. Remorse, 16”x20,” acrylic on canvas, 1999

3. Touch, 22”x30,” watercolor and ink on paper, 1999 

4. Nightlight, 17”x22,” acrylic on primed paper, 1999

5. Lover, 11”x14,” watercolor and ink on paper, 1999

6. Crystalline Memories, 16”x20,” acrylic on canvas, 1999

7. Wounded Spaces, 16”x20,” acrylic on canvas, 1999

8. Diego, 20”x24,” oil and acrylic on canvas, 1999

9. Adagio, 22”x30,” watercolor on hot press paper, 2000

10. Storms, 22”x30,” watercolor and ink on hot press paper, 2000

11. Tempting Movements, 11”x14,” oil on primed paper, 2000

12. Prodigal Lover, 22”x30,” pencil and watercolor on hot press paper, 2000

13. Safety, 22”x30,” watercolor on hot press paper, 2000

14. Liar, Liar, 20”x24,” acrylic on canvas, 2000

15. Creatures in the Grove, 24”x20,” acrylic on canvas, 2001

16. First Sight, 24”x36,” acrylic on canvas, 2001

17. May the Moon Carry You Where the Sun Sails and the Moon Walks, 20”x24,” acrylic on canvas, 2001

18. Chrysalis, 22”x30,” watercolor on hot press paper, 2001

19. Time Stood Still, 18”x24,” acrylic on canvas, 2001

20. Cradle My Heavy Heart, 18”x24,” acrylic on canvas, 2001

21. I Dreamed About You Loving Me, 22”x30,” watercolor on hot press paper, 2002

22. Any Given Moment, 48”x36,” acrylic on canvas, 2002

23. Bathed in Yellow Light, 36”x48,” acrylic on canvas, 2002

24. Melancholy God, 22”x30,” watercolor and color pencil on hot press paper, 2002

25. Savage Fountain, 22”x30,” watercolor and color pencil on hot press paper, 2002

26. Reluctant Grace, 22”x30,” watercolor and color pencil on hot press paper, 2002

27. Two Boys, 22”x30,” pencil on hot press paper, 2002

28. Admitting Our Falls, 22”x30,” ink wash and pencil on hot press paper, 2002

29. Mirror Mirror, 22”x30,” watercolor and color pencil on hot press paper, 2003

30. All That I Really Know, 22”x30,” watercolor, ink, & gouache on hot press paper, 2003

31. End of a Dream, 22”x30,” watercolor, ink, and acrylic on hot press paper, 2003

32. Archer, 22”x30,” watercolor and color pencil on hot press paper, 2003

33. Nobody Knows, 22”x30,” watercolor, ink, and acrylic on hot press paper, 2003

34. Birds of Prey, 22”x30,” pencil and acrylic on hot press paper, 2003

35. Love's Discovery, 22”x30,” pencil and watercolor on hot press paper, 2004

36. Nine of Swords, 22”x30,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot press paper, 2004

37. Two of Cups, 22”x30,” watercolor, color pencil on hot press paper, 2004

38. Three of Swords, 11”x14,” watercolor and color pencil on hot press paper, 2004

39. Yellow Fog, 17”x14,” watercolor on hot press paper, 2004

40. Lost, 9”x12,” watercolor on hot press paper, 2004

41. Self and Other, 22”x30,” watercolor on hot press paper, 2005

42. Sometimes Your Eyes,16”x20,” watercolor, ink, & gouache on watercolor canvas, 2005

43. Sex and Melancholy Flowers, 16”x20,” watercolor, ink, and collage on hot press paper, 2005

44. After Midnight, 11”x14,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot press paper, 2005

45. Vision, 22”x30,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot press paper, 2005

46. Steal Your Crown, 22”x30,” ink wash and gouache on hot press paper, 2006

47. Aaron #1, 22”x30,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot press paper, 2006

48. Aaron #2, 20”x24,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot press paper, 2006

49. Currents, 22”x30,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot press paper, 2006

50. Chill, 16”x20,” watercolor, ink, and on hot press paper, 2006

51. Tremble, 16”x20,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot press paper, 2006

52. Blood Red Jewels, 22”x30,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot press paper, 2006

53. Broken Blue,16”x20,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on watercolor canvas, 2006

54. Sorrowing Genius, 22”x30,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot press paper, 2006

55. Tremble Again,16”x20,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on watercolor canvas, 2006

56. Suspension of Fate, 16”x20,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot press paper, 2006

57. Zebra Always Looks for Rainbows, 20”x24,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on watercolor canvas, 2007

58. Zebra Often Uses Red Wagons, 16”x20,” watercolor, ink, & marker on water color canvas, 2007

59. Legend, 20”x24,” watercolor, ink, and marker on watercolor canvas, 2007

60. Myth 20”x24,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on watercolor canvas, 2007

61. Kiss and Kill, 20”x24,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on paper, 2008

62. Even Monsters Have to Sleep, 16”x20,” watercolor, ink, marker on watercolor canvas, 2008

63. Kitty,16”x20,” watercolor, ink, marker on watercolor canvas, 2008

64. Yellow Cigarette,16”x20,” watercolor, ink, and color pencil watercolor canvas, 2010

65. Red Snap Dragon Moonset, 22”x30,” watercolor, ink, and gouache on hot press paper, 2010

66. Between Bunnies and Swans, 22”x30,” watercolor and gouache on hot press paper, 2011

67. Blue, 11”x14,” watercolor on watercolor board, 2011

68. Look Over Your Shoulder, 8”x10,” watercolor and color pencil on hot press paper, 2011

 

René Capone's website: www.renecapone.com

All images shown: Réne Capone © 2011. All rights reserved.

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