Visual Arts #1: Nate Francis – In Place: A Study of Loneliness in Utah’s Landscapes

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Faculty mentor: Jaclyn Wright

Artist’s Statement: Coming out as queer after living as a member of the Mormon faith and serving a two-year mission for the organization was a wake-up call for myself, my family, and my friends. My work is concerned with the experience of living in Salt Lake City as a gay ex-Mormon.

Utah’s desolate geography serves as a metaphor for those experiences. The physical emptiness and desolation of the red rock deserts and expansive salt flats are symbols of the emotional and mental isolation of queer people in Utah’s cultural landscape.

Through the use of the camera, my body, the land, and the photo studio, I capture the relationship of my identity to my surroundings. I rearrange my world to make sense of it and re-capture it, again and again, my fragmented figure a constant reminder of the difficulty of being verbally dissected by the people around me. I carry the weight of otherness along with me internally. I feel a physical burden pulling my body down, down, down to dust.

I see fulfillment in a future outside of Utah and cling to it with every stroke of energy I can muster. The camera is my guardian angel and tool for self-creation, carrying me from day to day until I find that future.

View my art below!
Questions or comments? Contact me at: nate.francis@umfa.utah.edu

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