George Caleb Bingham Gallery
The University of Missouri’s George Caleb Bingham Gallery presents: Exposed South, a Masters of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition in Fibers by artist Billy George. This exhibition of dual installations runs from April 24–May 5, 2017. The works are shown in two locations: MU Student Center- Main Level and George Caleb Bingham Gallery- Fine Arts Building. George will host an artist talk in the gallery on Thursday, May 4th at 4:30 p.m. The exhibition reception will be held on Thursday, May 4th from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
George’s thesis work is an iconoclastic action to re-channel personal power. He uses the power of the found object in the form of secondhand, name-brand men’s dress shirts like Tommy Hilfiger and Polo and subvert them very carefully to re-direct the politic inherent in Southern / Midwestern masculinity.
The installation works are relatable visuals of his journey of dealing with and coming to terms with his sexuality. The pieces address vulnerability, exposure, hiding and isolation-emotions George experienced during the process of coming out.
George’s works position themselves to involve politics of space. Parallels of his autobiographical passage from a Southern conservative, white, Christian, rural upbringing to an openly cosmopolitan gay male; the dress shirt contains duality representing both, where he came from and what he is. His work represents LGBTQ sexuality and the experience that was endured from traveling from the confined closet like space the gallery creates to that of a juxtaposed politic of the MU Student Center where “closets” need not exist.
As part of the exhibition Exposed South artist, Billy George is encouraging viewer participation. He is asking individuals to journey from the George Caleb Bingham Gallery to the MU Student Center and celebrate with him as he has now officially 100% come out to the world.