“Legalized Love,” an exhibition of mixed media portraits of contemporary LGBT families by artist David Genest, opens in March in the Zabar Project Gallery at The Studios of Key West. The public is invited to an opening reception during the “First Thursday” event on March 5 from 6-8pm at The Studios, 533 Eaton Street.
David Genest has been refining his technique as a portrait artist for nearly 10 years. Lately, he’s turned his attention to depicting the quiet, "everyday yet extraordinary" moments in LGBT family life. One of Genest’s latest pieces captures two mothers reading to their son at bedtime, another portrays two fathers helping their child take his very first steps.
“Representation is important. As an artist, I feel I am driven to portray LGBT families,” says Genest. “With marriage equality, I want to ensure that LGBT families are included in the standard catalogue of portraiture."
Genest’s distinctive style shines through in his current exhibition which is comprised of ten mixed media works in a monotonal palette of acrylic, ink, charcoal and photo transfer. While the works evoke images of non-traditional families, one is left with the sense that we are all a part of one human family.
“The fact that we’ve only begun seeing representations of LGBT families when they have always been part of our society is my overarching objective.” Genest continues. “We can’t forget the families that never were, or never could be represented because of archaic ideas and societal taboos.”
Genest’s unique trajectory as an artist includes two decades of practicing and teaching Anatomic Pathology at Harvard Medical School, and several years of working closely with his mentor, the famed Key West artist and instructor Roberta Marks. For years, he created abstracted representational portraits in Boston and Provincetown, MA, and in Highlands, NC where most of his subjects came from the LGBT community. Since 2018, his paintings have transitioned from facial portraits to full-figured portraits of families.
"Legalized Love” remains on view through March 26. Genest will discuss his work during a half hour artist talk on Tuesday, March 24 at 5:30pm at The Studios. The talk is free and open to the public.
Image: “Flesh and Blood” (Multimedia on canvas) by David Genest