Zoe Walsh's (b. 1989; Washington, D.C.) technicolor paintings vibrate between formal abstraction and figurative landscape. Often rooted in Los Angeles' local sites, spots, and stages, Walsh's work features figures dispersed among vibrant shocks of color and layered fields of pigment. Their figures appear faintly, with only luminescent silhouettes to mark their presence, featured among idyllic outdoor expanses. Walsh sources these figures from archives of queer photography and locates them in contemporary landscapes, weaving in and out of time to fabricate a new mode of interconnected existence and queer presence through history.
At its core, Walsh's practice is based in research, as the artist consults queer archives and appropriates imagery into their vibrant compositions. In their recent bodies of work, the artist has drawn from references such as the groundbreaking gay porn house Falcon Studios, as well as the work of filmmaker and photographer Pat Rocco, known for his explicit documentation of the amorous ongoings of Los Angeles' underground gay scene. Walsh lifts silhouettes from these source materials, as well as from a personal archive of photos of their own friends, and arranges them using 3D digital software. These compositions are arranged into montages, which the artist collapses into a single flat image, combining disparate perspectives and moments over time into one layered plane. Walsh transfers this image onto canvas using a silkscreen process and repeats this process many times to achieve the desired color scheme and saturation levels. Stenciled layers over the surfaces add thickly applied paint to these intricate works, adding subtle relief and depth. The resulting images are at once layered and singular, displaying and concealing a multitude of queer histories at once. At its core, Walsh's practice questions the boundaries of painting, and, in doing so, the boundaries of archives, bodies, and identity, creating a powerful parallel to queer and trans existence.
Zoe Walsh has mounted solo and two-person exhibitions at M+B Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Pieter Performance Space, Los Angeles, CA; and Fondation des États-Unis, Paris, France, among others. Walsh's work has been featured in group exhibitions at USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Peppers Art Gallery, Redlands, CA; Usdan Gallery, Bennington, VT; La Maison des Arts, Malakoff, France; and Abrons Art Center, New York, NY, among others. In 2019, the artist was a nominee for the Emerging Artist Grant from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and received the Al Held Foundation Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, Italy. Most recently, Walsh was awarded a residency at Fountainhead in Miami, which will begin in February of 2024. Zoe Walsh earned their BA from Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA; and their MFA from Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT. Walsh was born in Washington, D.C., and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.