Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin, interdisciplinary artists and a married couple, explore the connections between LGBTQ histories and contemporary queer experiences in the United States. Their primary body of work, 50 States, is an ongoing series of installations made in response to little-known pre-Stonewall queer histories from each state. This multi-decade endeavor engages critically with perceptions of history and community as U.S. culture’s views of gender and sexuality progress at an astonishing pace while provoking deeply troubling social and legislative backlashes. Their research-based practice draws from recent groundbreaking academic work, the artists’ own archival research, and significant time spent learning from and collaborating with local LGBTQ community members.
In addition to their installations, the two artists create intricately hand-cut works on paper in which they layer queer imagery over found road maps then selectively cut away the layered “land” to reveal a delicate system of roads and waterways beneath. Inspired by anatomical drawings of the human vascular system, the cut maps assert that the iconography of the LGBTQ community has a deep, corporeal connection to the nation’s geographies.
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Nick & Jake show with Devin Borden Gallery in Houston, Texas