Photographer iO Tillett Wright looks back to her first image and the varied alphabet of sexual identity she’s captured since.
When sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson traveled to Africa, he found homosexuality in tribes that had been untouched by Western society. The existence of it, he theorized, came from an evolutionary adoption of unattached intermediacy that could bridge the social disparity between the sexes in the simultaneous hunter-nurturer. Like fellow tribesmen or a friendly next-door neighbor, iO’s photographed subjects feel that familiar. Like infrequent cousins, their biological features seem faintly recognizable. With the sheer number so far, Self Evident Truths has documented a diverse presence of LGBTQ across the landscape of America. With its goal of 10,000, it will dare you to shut out the people that surround you. Sharing her name with a fiery Greek goddess and one of the sixty-six moons of Jupiter (that happens also to be the most volcanic), iO seems innately suited to the job of erupting voice and message by pantheon and satellite. With the bang of iTechnology, the world of iO is only getting that much bigger.
Frank Expósito Let’s go back two years. What prompted you to take on this project?
iO Tillett Wright I had gone on a road trip through North Carolina with three of my friends who are All-American girls from Wisconsin. I had never been to Wal-Mart in my life; I was born and raised on Third Street. I got called a dude. For four days straight, I pissed in men’s bathrooms. It was terrifying. That’s what people have to deal with in this country, and that’s what ultimately kick started it.
From Bruce Nauman and Peter Halley to the blogosphere, Joshua Abelow discusses his influences and his unique approach to painting in the age of the Internet.
Joshua Abelow’s geometric abstractions can disorient the eye when they are placed together. Their alternating color theories have the habit of skipping along the meridian line of their fixed tablet size, creating hemispheres of white throughout a room. Some of the paintings make faces, smiling for the ensuing lens of cameras. They know quite well, in this digital age, that they’ll end up disregarding their physical bodies to reside somewhere online.
So they glow, even here, like runners’ neon, to attract attention. Upon closer inspection though, the rough burlap peaks through in bleeding texture as reminders of a material origin. Abelow equips painting for two realities—a human toiling with his displacing gadgets. The artist reflects here about being an apprentice during the dawn of the Internet and his current days as a self-deprecating “Famous Artist.”
Frank Expósito Do you remember a time when you weren’t using a computer?
Joshua Abelow I remember growing up in the ’80s with the first computer Apple put out. That was really exciting at the time. But, actually, I didn’t have one in college. I felt technologically unaware because I was so determined to be a good painter. I just didn’t have room for it in my head. I didn’t buy one for myself until I moved to New York in ’99 and started working for Ross Bleckner.