‘Bois Just Wanna Have Fun’ Puts a Witty, Queer Twist on American Landscape Painting

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American artists have a long history of depicting the country’s diverse natural settings, partly channeling their own senses of exploration and wanderlust. Cobi Moules is no exception, and his upcoming gallery show Bois Just Wanna Have Fun follows in that tradition. Yet there’s a twist: in each of his paintings, Moules depicts groups of young men who are actually only him. It’s an interesting take on the self-portrait, and the paintings in his collection represent his queer identity by turning the solitary nature of exploration on its head as well as playing with the notion of inclusion.

“I see a number of ideological links between [Hudson River School] works and a specific current American Christian culture that was an integral part of my formative years; particularly in regards to ideas of purity and the honor of sacrificing one’s selfhood for the glory of God,” Moules says of the inspirations behind his collection. “As a queer and transgender person, I seek to renegotiate my relationship with this upbringing and the act of being told I am ‘unnatural’ through such a pointed Christian lens.” Bois Just Wanna Have Fun, which will be on display from October 10 to November 19 at the Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, is a gorgeous look at a specific American identity that at times seems both normal and beguiling.

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules

Image credit: Cobi Moules