Have an unsettled feeling about the Trump inauguration? You’re not alone.
Local artists Eames Armstrong and John Moletress will explore issues of “queer bliss and domestic deviance” in a series of paintings, performance objects and multimedia installations they’re calling “Perversion Therapy,” which will be on display at Flashpoint Gallery (916 G St., N.W.) Jan. 14-Feb. 4, presented by CulturalDC, a local art non-profit.
A live performance will be held at the opening on Friday, Jan. 13 and another on Wednesday, Jan. 18. Look for the event on Facebook for full details. It’s free and open to the public. Light refreshments and drinks will be served.
Armstrong, who is genderqueer and uses gender-neutral pronouns, paints, performs, creates sound and writes but it’s mostly their paintings that will be used. Armstrong and Moletress had been kicking around the idea of how home relates to performance art but after Trump was elected, “it became necessary to respond in some way,” Armstrong says.
“My paintings are fun and bright and hopefully a little unsettling,” Armstrong says. “Kind of cute, sexless orgies. I think they complement and contrast nicely with John’s work that’s more overt in its overlapping transgressions.”
Armstrong, 28, identifies as genderqueer and grew up in Bethesda, Md. After a stint in Boston for college, they returned to the region. Armstrong enjoys reading, the occult, art theory and history in their spare time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
It has been about a year and a half since I started to be more vocal about being genderqueer. I have a hard enough time correcting people who mispronounce my name (rhymes with James), so it has been challenging but so rewarding to incorporate using they/them pronouns into my life. My older brother was the hardest to tell, which seems almost funny now because he has been absolutely the most supportive. Right away he said, “OK, we can call you QT for queer trans.” It was the sweetest. His sense of humor keeps me grounded.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I’m perpetually inspired by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, both in h/er approach to gender and prolific creative output across music, ritual and visual art.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I like to go to shows at Rhizome in Takoma Park, and anything that SelectDC or Sonic Circuits organizes. Do gallery openings count? That’s where you’ll find me.
Describe your dream wedding.
I’m not sure I dream of getting married, but if I were to I suppose casual. I wouldn’t want a formal ceremony, just a big party and come if you want because there will be great music.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I have worked to help foster a supportive community around experimental and body-based art practices, and to help connect artists in D.C. with like-minded artists and communities elsewhere. It’s so important to be around artists who understand and support you, especially when making work that can be so physically and emotionally taxing.
What historical outcome would you change?
A certain 2016 election.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
I saw Hole play in 2010. I was right up front and I think Courtney Love saw and winked at my hand-made “I love you Courtney” tank top. I wept during “Doll Parts.”
On what do you insist?
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
“Just heartbroken to read of John Berger’s passing this morning” and I shared a link to his 1972 BBC series “Ways of Seeing,” an influential feminist critique of visual culture that shed light on the ways in which images can be coded with ideologies.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
Too early to tell! Definitely still on a rough first draft.
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would be suspicious! John Moletress and my exhibition “Perversion Therapy” is a play on the dangerous practice of conversion therapy. On one hand, it’s a joke that the goal of the show is to make all who enter a little more gay, but it is more about being accepting, being critical and standing ground, and having fun as a kind of resistance in the face of a nightmare.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe in energies and different forces. But it is all in the physical world I think. I believe very much that whatever it is that gives us life is not located elsewhere.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Listen to youth. Like, really, really listen.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My little puppy Rosie, or really good vegan mac n’ cheese.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That we are shallow, narcissistic, selfishly and narrowly focused on LGBT-related ideas and issues.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“The Gay Bed and Breakfast of Terror” (2007)
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Hmm, I would like to be included in the Whitney Biennial (an exhibition of contemporary art) one day.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That I don’t need to be so afraid.
Washington is my home, will always be.