Steven Sherrill

How to Love a Minotaur  (Artist’s Statement)

The struggle to find one’s place, to fit in, is universal and timeless. We are all born into circumstances beyond our control; born into a time, a place, a paradigm in which we are complicit without consent. Guilty by association. And everybody, at one time or another, has felt like the monster in the room. The freak.  For many, the obstacles are more abundant and entrenched. For others, privilege is a double-edged weapon. In this photo series, How to Love a Minotaur, I chronicle the horned mongrel’s search for home, for belonging, for love, in small scale−HO scale− in three dimensions. I cut and graft the man to the bull, the bull to the man, and pose them, and shoot them, then supersize the images. For me, it is about incongruity, juxtaposition, contradiction, projection, desire, denial, justification, redemption, the suspension of disbelief, narrative tension…and on and on. The stuff that makes up all of our mythologies (personal and cultural) about home and self.

Over the years I have chronicled my personal journey, as an outsider, predominantly in writing. I have five novels in the world, most met with critical acclaim. I am a prolific painter. And for the last couple of years I’ve been making music (or noise, anyway). In all these mediums, my aesthetic voice is the same. My paintings and photographs look like my novels which sound like my songs. Too, my content, and that as a vehicle to convey the themes and issues that are important to me, is consistent.  Humans engaged in the messy business of being human, sometimes rising above the base, sometimes failing miserably.  The character of the Minotaur character, as I have cast him, endeavors to overcome the identity he was born into the world with. I suspect that that is why I was invited to contribute to this show.