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Ray Cook

“With my practice I draw on visual strategies and representational conventions used by gay image-makers in the times before the beginnings of homosexual legitimacy in the early 1970s to address broad contemporary issues of identity and community.

Gay male imagery has a long rich history of camp irony, theatricality, performance, hyper-subjectivity, carnivalesque inversion, ambiguity, coding, and alibi that allows the artist to develop new tools with which to identify and challenge incongruities between identity constructs proffered by the popular media and real lived experience.

My work has addressed issues impacting on queer culture since 1988. I have maintained an entirely contemporary discourse about queer realities and experience, constantly revising my communicative strategies adapting to evolving social and historical contexts. I have addressed the complex impact of HIV on my community both before and after the development of therapies. I’ve questioned queer invisibility throughout history, and the erasure or re-inscription of minority histories by the dominant culture, demonstrating the role of power in the construction of history.”

(Ray Cook 2006)