Queer Documentation-69 - Elise Weber.jpg

elise weber


for them

I am drawn to neon lights, strong bodies, soft boys, secret histories, bimbos, iced coffee, painted nails, good fences, boldness, tiny treasures and big bellies. Whether based in reality or fiction a queer presence is felt as a unifying thread in my work. Queerness isn’t any one thing, it exists in multitudes. It’s all the ways we reclaim autonomy over our stories as individuals. 

I grew up down a dirt road in rural Alabama. Having been raised in the Deep South there were no models of queerness beyond stereotypes and their accompanying slurs. I did not meet gay person until my senior year of high school when a friend of mine came out. With that declaration came constant harassment, ostracization, and abuse. This was the early aughts, Katy Perry singing about kissing girls, but just to experiment between boyfriends. Brittany was kissing Madonna but “no homo”. I had no language, no elders, and no idea that there were acceptable options beyond the cis-het society around me. Without this knowledge or a community I moved through life as a young woman cycling through abusive relationships and the astounding loneliness that comes with feeling different. It wasn’t until I left the south that I began to expand my own understanding of identity and love. 

I feel most loved when I am held exactly as I am. Queerness demands a freedom to shift and change. I currently identify as a gender fluid, polyamorous, queer person. These signifiers may shift over time but they live on in the forms I create and the fluid energy they express. This allows me to explore all the facets of my own identity, the connections I have to others and the legacy of my found family. I now have language, I now have elders, and they have taught me the most powerful thing a queer person can do is to live authentically. I have the privilege of very simply displaying a queer life in all its simple, tiny melodrama. Building from a legacy of LGBT+ artists who have time and again given light to the beauty and trauma of loving, I offer you another glimpse into the complexities of queer identities through vibrant, intertwining figures. The Abstraction created by the figures and bold colors allows for the messiness of gender identity and sexuality to be fully explored without recourse to a binary. In each of my paintings I work with the desire of providing representation to, and solidarity with, future generations of queer and trans individuals as we navigate both personal joys and institutional hardship and erasure.