My work is about closeness - to my subjects, painted surfaces, and the viewer. In my practice I focus on large-scale oil paintings of my friends, lovers, and family, which are sourced from smaller observational paintings and photographs. In my work, I focus on love and desire because they are fundamental human experiences, but also what marks me as different. The feeling that our social structure was never intended to include my form of sexuality drives me to make work that asserts the validity of queerness in the spectrum of human sexuality and identity. By depicting different aspects of my life, from the deeply personal to the everyday, I attempt to create environments that humanize queer pleasure, friendship, and intimacy. I use formal elements like gesture, color, and the materiality of paint to articulate my relationship to my subjects and shape the painting’s emotional narrative. Inspired by artists like Bonnard, R. B. Kitaj, and Hockney, I think of the form in my work as its expressive undercurrent. I use prismatic colors and a range of textures to represent bodily conditions like ecstasy, physical warmth, or heaviness of breath. For example, in “Morning 1” everything is painted in a muted rainbow, capturing the state of not being fully awake- feeling as if the space is humming in the darkness. By eliciting the body and its sensations through color and tactility, I try to connect with the viewer, speaking to our most basic commonalities rather than the social categories that separate us.