“Sexuality is prismatic — the full spectrum of color. Elusive and in a constant state of transformation, it slips through your fingers at any attempt to grasp or define it.” –Sarah Baley
Sarah Baley’s work liberates identity from the intersectionality of sex, class, race, geography and all the labels that define social normalcy. Her series “Bois” is a response to the heterocentrism and gender stereotypes of the dominant culture. Gender is not biology, it is an aesthetic expression.
The words queer, trans, dyke, fag, king, queen, butch, daddy, and boi are fluid terms for those who dance upon the box of hetro-normativity. Lest one think this is some new fangled front on the culture wars, it is not. Non-conforming gender expression dates as far back as the 5th century India, and in modern times can be found in the “cross-dressers” who performed on stage during the 1920’s Harlem Renaissance.
Here, Sarah Baley looks into contemporary queer culture to find expressions of pure freedom. Images of the decomposing, and regenerating urban landscape are juxtaposed against images of the gender fluid, boi and fag cultures that cut across lesbian sexuality. For Sarah the cityscape metaphorically mirrors queer sexuality, it is never static and ever changing.
Sarah Baley’s work continues a visual discourse that can be traced from Robert Mapplethorpe, through Catherine Opie, in its truthful portrayal of queer culture. And much like her photographic predecessors she uses classicism to depict beauty and upholds an integrity to the craft.
–Grace Moon, Editor Velvet Park Magazine on Sarah Baley’s solo show Bois.