"So began my criminal life, then punishable by the laws of the state of Ohio—at the time—by about twenty years imprisonment, I guess. Each time. Total incarceration in Ohio: between five and six thousand years."
—Samuel Stuard, unpublished memoirs, in reference to the criminalization of oral sex between men in the 1920s
haul gallery is pleased to announce HEAD, a solo show by multidisciplinary artist Peter Clough, opening on June 15, 2019. HEAD continues Clough’s ongoing investigation into the ways that stigma and desire come together in shaping sexual identity, with a particular focus on kink and gender fluidity. Bringing together projection, sculpture, painting, photography and textiles, the works in HEAD are both uncomfortably intimate and playfully tongue-in-cheek.
Dominating much of the gallery is the titular work of the show, HEAD, a largely abstract textile celebrating the joys of fellatio. The textile itself is stitched from fabric digitally printed with images of the inside of Clough’s mouth and throat, alongside close-up images of skin from the penis of one of Clough’s partners. Pink, glistening, visceral, these two swaths of flesh, abstracted and yet charged, mingle and become one. The textile, which Clough conceptualizes as a banner or a flag, is lit with projection mapped abstractions of the act itself.
Alongside this large textile, Clough presents a series of small sculptural collages, self-portraits of his own face—heads in another sense. Made from wood, paint, fabric and photographs of Clough’s body, each collage is a deconstruction and reassembly of Clough’s visage. Small model walkways, assembled from balsa wood like a model of a theatrical stage set, snake through the works. Little photographic versions of Clough himself inhabit these spaces, clothed in a variety of fetish wear—leather harnesses, rubber catsuits, pink lacy panties. Perfectly at home in haul’s dungeon-like gallery space, the works in HEAD interrogate the idea of self, pulling apart the flesh to uncover what lies underneath.