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Zoe Walsh / When the breezes start / M + B Gallery

Zoe Walsh

When the breezes start

M+B Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

June 3 - July 1, 2023

“Queer histories are made of affective relations…”

— Carolyn Dinshaw, Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern, 1999

Zoe Walsh makes sprawling, intricate paintings that both materially and conceptually hover at the edge of legibility, interrogating notions of what it means to both look at and live in a queer body. By fabulating visual worlds built on queer feeling and sociality, Walsh puts desire at the center of their artmaking process, seeking pleasurable connections across time that evade final truth or meaning.

Walsh’s process starts in the queer archive. Their previous body of work was populated by poolside figures drawn from the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives’ holdings of the groundbreaking gay porn house Falcon Studios. Returning to ONE in the fall of 2021, Walsh came across the work of filmmaker and photographer Pat Rocco who, in the late 1960s and without permission, shot amorous, often nude men on Hollywood Boulevard, at Disneyland, and in Griffith Park, which remains a site of gay cruising to the present day. Drawing on Rocco’s landscape pictures, Walsh has embarked on a new body of work that explores the sites of the public park and the private garden. For the first time, they have supplemented their archival images with original photos staged with friends. These poses respond to Rocco’s work as well as a promiscuous genealogy of queer gesture that includes excerpts from Henrik Olesen’s Some Faggy Gestures, mid-century men’s physique magazines, and documentation of Yvonne Rainer dance performances.

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