“All desires known and no secrets hidden”
Series of 5 paintings, oil and gloss on canvas by Queer_Mystic
Queer_mystic (QM) is an artist based in the north of England. He works mainly in oil paint within which he explores sensuality, spirituality and the impact of place on our sense of self. For him painting, meditation and sex are deeply interrelated. All entail an opening of oneself to another, all entail a vulnerability and the risk of ecstasy. All involve diving headlong into the deep flow of the human spirit and a drive to reach out, touch and connect another. This is the desire to penetrate and be penetrated by the other which is a distinctively queer way of being.
It took QM a number of years to come to terms with his faith and his sexuality but, taking inspiration from the medieval Christian mystics, he found a powerful connection between his deepening sense of self as a gay man and his engagement with the Spirit of Christ which is, above all, the Spirit of Love.
The title of this series All desires known and no secrets hidden is taken from the prayer of penitence from the Eucharist service. This is a prayer to a God “to whom all hearts are open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hidden”. For the artist it speaks of the mystic and sensual union with Christ: utterly exposed and intimately entwined. The couple concealed behind the dark censorial gash are known only to each other. The slick black gloss paint shines dark against the sensuous oil painting and the different energies embodied in the single stroke on each image, reminiscent of Chinese calligraphy, expresses the dynamic between the two men.
QM works from live models, the time with them naked as he takes photographs is important as there is then a direct connection between the embodied sensuality of the naked flesh and the embodied sensuality of the paint. The photographs used in this series of paintings are particularly personal as they were taken during a time when QM was wrestling with his sexuality, just after he had come out as a gay man. He posed with the model for the images and so the same fingers that caressed skin on skin all those years ago also smeared and coaxed the paint on these canvases: a direct echo of those first tentative experiences with another male body. QM has returned to these photographs a number of times over the years to make new paintings, each time finding something new to explore in the process. These images, made for Balaclava Q, enabled him to re-examine his early experiences as a gay man and to reflect on how much has changed in his understanding of sex and spirituality as well as the way that he uses paint and what meaning the act of creating holds for him now.
Why get involved with Balaclava.Q?
The quality of the artists involved blew me away and the concept of concealing the face holds so much evocative and provocative potential. I have often felt that I’ve held back in my work in the past for fear of what people might think. I needed to protect myself, which may sound cowardly of an artist but is the reality of my life situation at the moment. So I went about this work as an experiment in my artistic practice to see how anonymity might change the way I make art. Concealing my identity has enabled me to work with a deeper honesty in the way that I have explored my spiritual and sexual experience. Is this who I really am or simply one more construct for me to present to the world? I don’t know yet, but as the eyes of the unknown lover fix on the viewer it makes me realise how we are more honest with our bodies when our faces are hidden. Under the cloak of anonymity we can be more open about our desires. This is so pertinent in our world of social media and multiple virtual identities. There is a rich creative field to explore when we begin to consider how anonymity changes the way we interact with each other. I wonder, would you fuck me harder if you didn’t know my name?
To get in touch with the artist about this work and other pieces please contact Balaclava Q.
“All desires known and no secrets hidden”
Series of 5 paintings, oil and gloss paint on canvas
3 new pieces by Queer Mystic entitled “Holy! Holy! Holy!“
Screen print and mixed media on paper 76cm x 56cm
This work draws from QM’s work and experience with the model depicted in the images and is inspired by Allen Ginsberg’s poem, “Footnote to Howl“:
All images were kindly supplied by the artist.
Please contact Balaclava.Q before using these images.