Stephen Doyle is an artist from Cork whose work references queer identity and queer culture through painting and installation. Graduating from Crawford College of Art and Design in 2017, he has since received the Sunny Art Prize and the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize. Most recently, he was shortlisted for the Zurich Portrait Prize at the National Gallery of Ireland. His entry, Dylan is ainm dom… saw the first out trans subject hang proudly on that institution’s walls.
Post-Binary, Stephen’s first solo show, runs at SO Fine Art Editions, Powerscourt Townhouse, until March 21. The work on display is part of his ongoing exploration of gender identity in contemporary society. Here, Stephen talks to masc about representation in his practice.
“There is an importance of representation of the LGBTQ+ community in my work because of the simple fact that there isn't a current commentary on the subject in the visual arts. There is a lot of stunning work that documents the hidden part of our history. Specifically, work that references the exploration of sexuality in secret, or the macho homoerotic. But there is so much more and this leaves out many of the people within the queer community.
“As a kid, I would visit the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork and look at the portraits and learn about the figures, but I had trouble connecting with them. Robert Hunter’s Interior of a group family portrait is a piece that always stuck with me as a template of what everyone's life should be. This idealistic portrayal of a family; mother and father with their son and daughter, it even has a little dog in it. That painting was made in 1776 and still speaks to the majority of the population. But I didn't want any of those things when I grew up, except the dog, and I would leave feeling like there was something wrong with me for not wanting that.
“The next generation of the LGBTQ+ community should be able to see themselves, their stories and their concerns. There shouldn't be a template for everyone's life. So far, my work has questioned gender roles, gender identity and sexuality. It would be great to have younger generations see the work and relate to it, and for older generations to see that their tireless campaigning has allowed artists like myself to tackle these subjects without fear.”