BUBBLE GUM NIPPLES

Studies of Queer life. 

2019 - 2020

Works available for purchase.

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Intimately Chewed, Casually Discarded

 Chewed bubble gum hung on metal rails in tiled box

600 x 600 x 95

Finalist for the Wallace Awards 2020

About the Artwork 

Chewed Encounters

Chewed bubble gum hung in tiled boxes.

Vary in sizes

Situated within queer art this work strikes an excellent balance between seriousness and levity, centring on gay sexual encounters in bathrooms, and touching on questions of community and gender. The Daliesque nature of the melty, chewing-gum forms, observed leans the work into the bodily, in contrast to the cold glossy tiles, which is more clinical and sterile. The work brims with associations. Nipples are things some people enjoy chewing on or having chewed. Gum is something you might chew if you’re about to kiss a stranger in bar or nightclub, to make sure your breath smells okay or to lube up a drug-parched throat. The nipple-forms are reminiscent of condoms, with their teat-ish reservoirs. Referring to strings of anonymous sexual encounters: ‘experiences hung out to dry’. The phrase ‘dirty laundry’ might also come to mind. While the placement of the nipples on their lines appears fairly casual, their crafting is full of care and delicacy, suggesting the intimacy that can attend even more fleeting sexual encounters. All the while being confined by the four walls of the frame, keeping these encounters close and almost secret. Lending the audience, a sneak peek into this ‘private’ bathroom like space. Accompanied with the sweet sickly aroma of bubble gum that catches the viewer in passing or upon closer inspection.

Chewed Nipples (Overall winner - Eden Arts Awards 2019)

4m of Chewed bubble gum hung on metal rails.

Reflecting the disposability and availability of casual sexual encounters as well as the fetishistic side of touch and sexual interaction. Openly questioning social constructions of physical connection, anonymity and sexualisation. Revealing elements of personal experience yet also refusing to give details, displaying a careless hanging up of experiences, hung out too dry. Reflecting used condoms tossed aside after use. Holding onto the anonymity of each encounter. A playful way to show a part of many homosexual’s sexual history that can be viewed as negative, problematic and confronting. Giving a slightly uncomfortable yet amusing twist on physical touch and sensual desire. 

 © 2020 All Rights Reserved by Oliver Cain

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