Copyright Daren Young Artworks, 2013. All rights reserved.
          Multi-media artwork by Daren Young

                                                    Art Access Gallery
                                      January 16 – February 13, 2009

This exhibition represents the work I completed while in the two-year graduate program at
Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vermont.  During my four semesters in the low-
residency MFA program there, I created four different bodies of work each tied together by the
theme of queer identity.

One of the myriad aspects of my identity is that I am a gay man. While I have been out as
a queer person for over 25 years, it wasn’t until I entered graduate school that I took the
opportunity to more fully explore my sexual identity through the art I make.  In essence,
I “came out” as a queer artist during my time at Vermont College.  While representations of
sexual identity and queer politics have been done by many other artists, mine come from my
own unique background and perspective which includes growing up and living in our often
conservative and hetero-centric culture here in Utah.

I selected this exhibition’s title, HOMO/
evocative, to describe its overall theme of queer identity.  
As a play on the term homo-erotic, the work in this show is not necessarily meant to be titillating
or provocative in nature, but rather intended to evoke from you, the viewer, an emotional response
and recognition of your own identity.  The Latin word
homo translates as meaning the same; it is
my hope that the art in this exhibition will allow you to see the sameness we share as human
beings regardless of whether we are straight or gay.

The work I created during my first semester is titled
Under-eye Cream and Other Findings in my
Medicine Chest: a Self-portrait
.  These drawings and paintings are an exploration of how the
health, beauty, and grooming products we select for ourselves identify us and become a
portrayal of the self.  In my second semester, I developed a series of twelve autobiographical
drawings titled
One Boy’s Story: Snapshots from My Youth.  These images—intended to look
like old black-and-white photographs—tell the story of the pivotal moments from my childhood
and teenage years that were influential as I discovered my sexual identity.

The third semester’s work,
Reflections of a Middle-aged Gay Man, relates to our society’s
obsession with youth and physical beauty and its particular resonance for gay men as we grow
older.  This also represents my first foray into video, as it includes interviews with sixteen gay men
between ages 40 and 65 documenting their thoughts and feelings about being middle-aged.  
The presentation from my final semester, which is also the work I exhibited in my MFA thesis
exhibition in July 2008, focuses on the highly topical and often controversial issue of same-sex
marriage.  With the title
You’re Invited… Discourses on Same-sex Marriage from a Queer
, I offer more video work including a “virtual” civil union ceremony as well as
interviews with eight gay and lesbian couples all in long-term committed relationships.

My art may offend you; or it may speak directly to you.  Ultimately, I hope it will generate in each
of you a greater understanding of what it means to have a sexual orientation and identity outside
the center, as well as evoke from you thoughtful contemplation about your own humanity.  May
you discover that while we differ from each other in many ways, the things we share in common
are far more significant and unifying.