Public Displays of Affection
Jeffrey Augustine Songco risks being accused of massive over-sharing with his first solo exhibition, Public Displays of Affection. Displaying extraordinary powers of negative capability, Songco constructs a world in which his two great passions, Queerdom and the Catholic Church, not only peacefully coexist but thrive on each other. Songco constructs his art from objects and images that go both ways, as it were, such as Peace Poles,spears of wood with uplifting slogans that began to show up in the yards of liberal churches in the 1980s.
Like a sex-crazed sleuth searching for the gay Da Vinci code, Songco turns those phrases and the phallic forms they were painted on against their original intention to illuminate their queer subtext. In Body Shots, an ordinary table of jello shot containers such as might be found at a college fraternity party is transformed into a tabernacle for what appears to be the artist's seed. And in Scumbags, a series of surrealistic sculptures dramatically presented as luxury objects, Songco makes the case that balloon animals aren't the only forms you can make from over-the-counter latex.