Gender Treason, a series of portrait paintings by Kansas City based artist Ryan Wilks, chronicles his latest exhibition, which debuted at Leedy-Voulkos Art Center on 1 July 2016, and includes interviews with the artist's subjects, providing a rare glimpse into the lives of queer people living in the Midwest. In an effort to transcend sensationalized media stereotypes and portray a more honest perspective into queer existence, Wilks spent a year interviewing, and then painting, queer Kansas City residents.
The series, which focuses on twelve people who span the queer spectrum of gender and sexual identity, offers a vulnerable insight into each individual's life, their common struggles, and the victories that bond them in a shared human condition. Each painting aspires to capture the complexity and truth of its subject by employing bold colors, painterly brush strokes, and hard lines.
Since the Stonewall riots of 1969 sparked the fight for queer liberation, LGBTQIA equality has breached the mainstream, leading to a national conversation that has helped change the minds of many once bigoted people and contributed to positive legislative changes. But equality is just the start. For true compassion to wrap itself around an entire nation and sustain lasting social growth, education on queer realities by queer people must be encouraged. Gender Treason strives to be that brand of education.
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