"The Nightmare Is Me"
Peter Kingstone and Daryl Vocat, "The Nightmare Is Me," 2010, screen print, 30" x 22".
DARYL VOCAT AND PETER KINGSTONE: Sissies and Psychopaths
April 4 to May 11, 2013
SNAP Gallery, Edmonton, AB
By Agnieszka Matejko
Many researchers believe gay and lesbian teens account for almost a third of youth suicides – a troubling estimate borne out by a spate of recent news reports. It’s a theme that echoes through the gut-wrenching work of Toronto artist Peter Kingstone and Daryl Vocat, who is from Saskatchewan. Both are in their 30s and have MFA degrees from York University in Toronto, but they grew up in communities with vastly different acceptance levels. Yet when they began to collaborate on a series of prints that address what it’s like to be a gay child, they found remarkable parallels. “When we were both five there was a definite feeling that there was something wrong, that we didn’t fit into the world around us,” says Kingstone. To express this experience, each artist selected childhood icons: cartoons, characters from pop culture and the like. They built each print through email conversation. Kingstone initiated The Nightmare Is Me with a reclining nude from a Playgirl magazine, a serene image he found beguiling as a youth. Vocat responded with a screaming woman. Fear surrounding the nude culminates in horror. A boy in a pool pushes another underwater as a printed death wish hovers above. This wish is too often fulfilled – not only due to gay bashing, but also to internalized pain that turns into cold, hard suicide statistics.