As a figure painter, I’ve found myself drawn to creating commentary on the contemporary world through a queer lens. The evocative power of figurative art is unparalleled when it comes to communicating with other people as both the artist and the viewer. This forms the framework for institutional critique in my work, where the default Western gaze is undoubtedly male, white, and heterosexual; in several of my paintings, individuals interact with and are subsumed in manufactured environments of paper, cardboard, and the viscera of the studio. These paintings toy with the practice of rendering spatial relationships by contrasting volumetric passages of paint with flattened planes. These shallow falsehoods that construct the scenery serve as metaphors for the fragility of our own identity construction; symbols as innocuous as a wrench or fish become props not only formally but contextually, codifiers of gender roles my models either identify or disidentify with to varying degrees. Deconstructing the “rules” of painting allows me the berth to knock in rough, loose passages of paint alongside more nuanced areas to push and pull the eye around the picture plane while simultaneously bringing to bear the reality that how we define ourselves, especially in terms of gender and sexuality, is shaky at best.