JOSHUA TREE –– Second Saturday Downtown nights returned to Joshua Tree last weekend, bringing unique shows including the “Out Proud: LGBTQIAA+” gallery exhibit opening at the Art Queen and the annual Joshua Tree Highlands Art Residency exhibit.
In honor of Pride month, the Art Queen East Village Gallery presented “Out Proud,” which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. The show will be displayed throughout June.
Featured artists are Eric Schwabel, Steve Dyson, Jane Maru, Doug Boney, Philip Pirolo, Lauren Wolpert, Dylan Smith, Ken Volok, Peter Bolton, Rik Livingston and Aaron Sheppard.
Boney, an artist based in West Hollywood, is a sculptor who identifies as queer. He grew up on a farm and he said that background comes through in many ways in his work. He works with contradictory pieces that represent inner struggle — like, “The beauty of making something practical (a bowl) with the beauty of sex,” he said.
A couple blocks down on the highway, Joshua Tree Highlands residency fellows Annika Bowker, Rae DelBianco, Ben Hamburger and Serena Hazard showed the work they did while living in the desert.
Established in 2007, JTHAR is a nonprofit residency that hosts artists from across the world in Joshua Tree for group and solo residencies of six to seven weeks. The residency includes scholarship money, living accommodations, studio space and a gallery exhibition.
Bowker, a visual artist and designer, created two tapestries using dried plant species for her residency.
“This work investigates and presents the plant life that exists along the U.S./Mexico border to tell a story of current social or environmental consequence,” Bowker said in her artist statement.
DelBianco, a writer, used her residency to work on her second novel, “Dope and Cattle.” Her first novel, “Rough Animals,” was published in June 2018 and was set in the Utah desert, an ode to her youth as she grew up as a cattle farmer.
Hamburger, a painter and muralist, produced figurative paintings of Joshua Tree for this residency. He said the project began as a series of paintings about his personal struggles with depression that was affected by a short trip exploring Joshua Tree National Park.
“These paintings depict adventure, strength and beauty coexisting with the difficulties of being human,” he said.
Hazard, is primarily a landscape painter. For this residency she created new work inspired by the political, cultural, indigenous and geologic history of Joshua Tree.
The JTHAR show is now closed but “Out Loud” will be featured for the rest of the month at the Art Queen.