Multimedia artist, Heyd Fontenot, is attracted to subjects possessed of discomforting or undefinable qualities. His drawn and painted portraits of unclothed subjects reveal the nuances of idiosyncratic expression and the delicacies of our humanness. Fontenot’s film and video work tends to narcotize and disorient. The artist renounces commonplace narrative conventions in an effort to destabilize, making way for individual epiphany and revelation.
Borrowing themes and images from fraternal secret societies, rodeos, brothels, places of worship and interior design showrooms, Fontenot works with a rotating cast of actors and models to fabricate ceremonial dramas and consumer indoctrinations. The artist slyly undermines all that is good and holy about middle-class respectability to reveal mythical America as both oppressive and alluring. His on-going video project Flaming Critters follows the adventures of a fictitious social club who dabble in Luciferianism.
Fontenot’s mid-career survey exhibition “The Very Queer Portraits of Heyd Fontenot,” traveled to the University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland), Rollins College (Winter Park, Florida), and Allegheny College (Meadville, Pennsylvania). He is represented by Conduit Gallery in Dallas, Texas; and is currently an artist-fellow at Tulsa Artists Fellowship in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“Heyd Fontenot creates immersive environments that function as exhibitions space, improvisational performance sites, and as locations for video production. The fluidity and accommodating quality of Fontenot’s intentionally permeable, pluralistic spaces suggest the very essence of queerness. Using the artifacts of secret societies real and imagined, the artist creates stories based in tradition, ceremonial dramas, initiation, and indoctrination, to subvert and ridicule the moral high-ground of mainstream American culture; a position that often seems delusional in its self-protectionism. Fontenot slyly undermines all that is good and holy to the U.S. middle class. His iconoclastic actions reveal the oppression upon which such values and power, are based.”
– Curator, Chad Dawkins