Justin Liam O’Brien, Colin J. Radcliffe and Mark Zubrovich
Curated by Kate Mothes
6 September – 12 October 2019
The Real Tinsel, Milwaukee, WI
Real Tinsel and curator Kate Mothes, founder of Young Space, are pleased to present Dreamboat, an exhibition featuring new work by three Brooklyn, NY-based artists Justin Liam O’Brien, Colin J. Radcliffe, and Mark Zubrovich. Dreamboat is a poignant exploration of queer love and identity, evincing each artist’s individual reflection of and inquiry into notions of acceptance, loneliness, illness, competition, violence, and connection. Exploring imagery and narrative that is at once metaphorical, mythological, and individual, each artist addresses their personal history and the tumult of interpersonal relationships–especially in an age of dating apps and social media–by challenging the boundary between private and public, isolation and exhibition.
Justin Liam O’Brien’s oil paintings are imbued with a sense of sorrow and longing that emanates from each work, enveloping us in the same melancholy embrace. We are invited to share in the uncertainty of some moments, and the comfort of others, in some cases directly addressed by a figure in the painting. O’Brien’s paintings are derived from specific memories as well as the imagination, tapping into universal human longing for connection.
Colin J. Radcliffe also suffuses his work with a personal, raw intensity originating in memory and experience, working clay sculptures as a cathartic practice. Ideas about queer love, heartbreak, loss, body identity and chronic illness influence Radcliffe’s playfully grotesque figures, which are often influenced by memories of lovers. Often depicted interacting with a phone, these figures are tenuously, virtually connected to others, and yet they are alone. The ceramic phones further explore a narrative of constant searching for connection on queer dating apps such as Grindr.
The pieces included by Mark Zubrovich have been made between two residencies in Pittsburgh, PA, and Vancouver, BC, within the past few months. Zubrovich melds the sport of baseball, with its intrinsic element of wholesome tradition and legend, with homoerotic dog figures that inhabit paintings, textiles and soft sculpture. By anthropomorphizing dogs and exploring the relationship of language like “mutts” and “good boys” to human identity, and queer identity in particular, we are invited to enter a sporty world in which the playfulness on the surface belies incredible nuance just beneath.
Text by Kate Mothes