Stephen Doyle – Numb
Curated by Miguel Amado
Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, 18th of September – 15th November, 2020
Stephen Doyle is a Cork-based artist exploring issues of queer identity through the relationship between figuration and the politics of representation. This exhibition features new works examining the experiences of the Chinese LGBTQIA+ community. Doyle uses the prevailing social control overqueer culture in China as a metaphor to address historic and ongoing discrimination–even stigmatization–of queer people across the globe.
In a series of works informed by a residency in Shanghai, Doyle looks at China’s restrictive social structures and conventions with respect to sexual minorities. The artist focuses on individuals that they encountered during their residency–ranging from a queer activist to anonymous citizens–to ruminate on the tension between the conditions of existence of LGBTQIA+ people and normative sexual morale and behaviour.
Doyle makes portraits of LGBTQIA+ people, and often includes objects in the paintings, a gesture of ‘othering’ the art that mirrors the subject matter it investigates. The artist depicts subjects within everyday settings in a naturalistic manner; they usually sketch a character in situ, then later re-create the drawing in oil paint, sometimes also using their own photographs to finalise the composition.
Painting, and portraiture in particular, is associated with the iconography of power (for example politicians and religious figures), and consequently with mainstream worldviews, of which queer identity and culture have always been excluded. By invoking them, Doyle makes an ironic comment on the subalternisation of the existence of the LGBTQIA+ community, and simultaneously does his part to illuminate it.
Doyle has exhibited nationally and internationally. He has also been selected for the Zurich Portrait Prize (2018), Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition (2019 and 2020), Vue National Contemporary Art Fair (2018 and 2019). Doyle has received two international art prizes, the ‘Ashurst Emerging Art Prize’ and the ‘Sunny Art Prize’. In addition to this, he is credited with having the first piece in the National Collection of Ireland to openly discuss Trans/Queer identity. His work has been acquired by numerous private and public collections including C.I.T and Crawford Art Gallery. This will be Doyle’s 5th solo exhibition to date.
Social Media: @stephendoyleart