Already winning over the hearts of celebrity collectors like Sir Elton John, the internationally renowned Louise Dear is an artist on the rise. To celebrate the pride season, the Brighton resident has unveiled her latest work: ‘Love Bomb’.
‘I have always supported Pride and the LGBT movement as I have a core belief that being who you want to be is the greatest freedom of all!’ she says.
Louise Dear’s beautiful and lavish corpus includes large, figurative works on panels of prefabricated aluminium. Through the details and flourishes she adds, her art captures a sense of decadence and joie de vivre. Where she is most striking, however, is with her use of colour – rather apt for her new rainbow-coloured statement piece.
‘Love Bomb’ features a stereotypical scene Adonis with sunbed skin, meticulously coiffed blond hair and pert pink lips that ruffle like an inviting, sexualised aperture. His eyes are serrated mascara teeth, fierce and fearsome, his features deftly rendered as though fountain pen calligraphy. Streaks of glitter trace over his flesh while daisies cluster around his hands, elbows, back and neck. He’s bold and camp; the rainbow backdrop, meanwhile, gains texture through a flower motif, resembling the streaked wallpaper of some dingy underground gay bar.
Cutting through the layers of artifice and soiled glamour, though, is the pink grenade poised close to this disco dolly’s face. His puckered hole and tilted head suggest he’s either ready to kiss it or, as if it were a particularly powerful batch of TNT poppers, indeed sniff it. Written in diamantes over the grenade – a final flirtation with kitsch – are the words ‘love bomb’.
Post-Orlando, with public bathrooms a contested space between bigoted conservatives and everyone else, the message of ‘Love Bomb’ seems clear: beneath the veneer of facile limp-wristedness, ours is a community that is still dangerous, our love able to explode the quotidian, and our collective ability to resist the stranglehold of heteronormativity is underestimated at your peril. Coming as it does during the pride season, it also stands as a firm reminder of the political (and violent) origins of pride: the Stonewall Riots, where drag queens and trans women of colour threw bricks at the New York police who were harassing the community.
Louise Dear’s works are held in numerous collections including those of Rick Stein and Harrods owners, Qatar Holdings. You can see more of her work online at louisedear.com.