Caleb Cole: Show Me
Carol Schlosberg Alumni Gallery
October 18 – November 19, 2021
Caleb Cole: Show Me presents two related bodies of work that explore the visibility of the queer body and challenge binary constructions of gender identity. In Other People’s Clothes, an ongoing series begun in 2007, Cole uses his physical body to inhabit the lives of others. By wearing various ensembles and assuming different poses and gestures, Cole embodies characters he has never met nor who exist in real life, portraying aspects of their fictional outer and inner lives. Even though Cole is present in the photograph, he does not view these images as self-portraits or the characters he creates as alter egos. Rather, the series examines assumptions and misconceptions around gender, sexuality, age, and identity. In the series, Traces, Cole alters, and re-photographs pages taken from gay men’s magazines from the 1980’s-1990’s so that the outlines of the suggestively reclined or entwined bodies become mere shadows or traces, their identities symbolically negated. Also on view is a recent video work, entitled Groom, which depicts multiple and overlapping images of the artist gently caressing his facial hair. Such a seemingly narcissistic gesture can also be read as an affirming and a validation of Cole’s outer and inner self.
The exhibition is concurrently on view with Caleb Cole: Collective Feelings, a solo exhibition of new work at Gallery Kayafas in Boston, which runs October 22 – December 4, 2021
Born in Indianapolis, Caleb Cole is a former altar server, scout, and 4-H Grand Champion in Gift Wrapping. Caleb’s mother instilled in them a love of garage sales and thrift stores, where they developed a fascination with the junk that people leave behind. They are a 2015 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow, 2013 Hearst 8×10 Biennial Winner, 3-time Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Winner, 2011 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award winner, 2011 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship Finalist, 2009 Artadia Award winner, and a 2009 Photolucida Critical Mass finalist. Caleb exhibits regularly at a variety of national venues and has held solo shows in Boston, New York, Chicago, and St. Louis, among others. Their work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Newport Art Museum, Davis Art Museum, Brown University Art Museum and Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston.
Image: Birthday Girl, 2008, 19×13 inches, Archival pigment print
Above Image: Trace (satin sheets), 2018, 36×24 inches, Archival pigment print