Artist Spotlight: John Arsenault
BY Advocate.com Editors
January 21 2011 5:45 PM ET
John Arsenault’s current solo show, “A Ghost Is Occupying My Heart,” is on view at ClampArt Gallery NYC through February 5. While many of the works in the new exhibition are self-portraits, Arsenault is now incorporating evocative and emotional landscapes and still-life imagery, punctuating his vision with views outward, no longer solely presenting the viewer with photographs only of himself.
Since first picking up a camera, Arsenault has routinely turned his lens upon himself, producing an outlandish and absurd, wild and erotic account of his life as a gay artist. Exploring facets of his personal relationships, his sexuality, and his identity, Arsenault constructs scenarios that not only tell the story of his experiences but also comment on society at large. With a distinctive eye for the strange, the unexpected, and the laugh-out-loud ridiculous, he is not afraid to poke fun at himself and thus is able to comment on matters of broad cultural importance without seeming shrill or pedantic. The artist says of his new series of images, “Inspired by a desire to heal a broken heart and to find myself, I decided to strip myself down emotionally, often literally nude, in order to create a body of work that revealed my search and my pain as honestly as I could.”
Raised in a small town in northern Massachusetts, Arsenault moved to New York City in 1997 to pursue a degree in photography at the School of Visual Arts. He now resides in Los Angeles. Arsenault’s photographs are represented in the permanent collections of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kan., and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.