June 4, 2014 - June 29, 2014
Many of the images that make up artist Chad States’ series Cruising may seem like straightforward color landscapes, but look a little closer and you may start to pick out human forms hidden within the trees: one or two men together, or perhaps just the outline of their shadows. In fact, each scene States captures on film is at a site frequented by gay men for “cruising,” or searching for anonymous sex. While this activity may be viewed negatively by some, States chooses to emphasize the beauty of the lush foliage, blue skies, and afternoon sun present in each site. By visualizing the appeal of these environments, the artist asks viewers to contemplate the potential for romance during these encounters, as well as a more inclusive definition of intimacy.
“The landscapes in which these men make sexual connections are not dark and terrible places but tranquil and beautiful. I feel it is this unknown potential that the landscape holds that is one of the most alluring elements to cruising. It is this sense of possibility that heightens the cruising experience that the photographs resonate with. I am interested in creating a sense of fantasy in which the viewer can be seduced by the romanticism of the landscape yet feel a tension from the possibility of this unknown, a sublime place where one can lose themselves both physically and psychologically.”
Chad States currently lives and works in Philadelphia. He holds an MFA from the Tyler School of Art and a BA from the Evergreen State College. His work has been exhibited at venues including ClampArt and Hous Projects in New York City; Randall Scott Gallery in Brooklyn; Photo Center NW and Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle; Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and FLUXSPACE in Philadelphia; and the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington. His works are in the permanent collections of Light Work in Syracuse, New York; Biggs Museum of Art in Dover, Delaware; and the Julie Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts at Auburn University in Alabama. His first monograph, Cruising, was published by PowerHouse Books in the fall of 2011 and was shortlisted by the Aperture Foundation and Paris Photo for the Best First Photobook Award in 2012. His work is also in Alec Soth’s Lonely Boy Mag #2 published in the summer of 2011. States received the Established Artist Fellowship through the Delaware Division for the arts in 2011 and was an Artist in Residence at Philadelphia Photo Arts Center in 2013 and at Light Work in the summer of 2009.