The Bees Know What to Do, 2014, Digital video, 23 minutes, 10 seconds. Film Still: Courtesy of the Artist.
Silent, poetic, and erotic, Vincent Tiley’s The Bees Know What to Do features older, HIV+ artist Hunter Reynolds and younger, HIV- artist Jasper Colorado. Reynolds arranges and re-arranges flowers on the body of Colorado, pressing them between his toes, in his open mouth, and into his anus. Through these actions, the flowers become materialized loci of desire. Tiley’s video explores how desire electrifies erotic encounters not despite of, but with chronic illness. Mediated and marked by flora, erotic desire is not foreclosed by such statuses as health and age, but inclusive of them. Thus, desire—and thereby the flowers—resist confinement in societal strictures and mores. Rather, desire marks the power to break through legal barriers and walls of stigma.
Born in West Virginia, New York based artist Vincent Tiley received a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. In 2017 he participated in the Fire Island Artist Residency (FIAR) and was a 2013 participant at Artist Cooperative Residency and Exhibition (ACRE) program. His work has been featured and reviewed in Art in America, the Chicago Tribune, Performa, and the New York Times. The artist has been widely exhibited internationally including the Museum of Art and Design, the Leslie-Lohman Museum, AxeNeo7, CFHILL, and the International Museum of Surgical Science. His works have been collected by the Whitney Library, the Leather Archives and Museum, Yale University Library, and the Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
His paintings, performances, and video works take the visual and material cultures of queer desire and survival as primary sources. Influenced by fashion, fetish, medicine, protest, and science fiction his work combines these vernaculars with the methodologies of abstraction and durational performance. His garment-based durational performances queer clothing’s myriad uses--often combining multiple performers into one sculptural and painted form--the garments no longer function as outward signifiers adorned by an interior self but fully disguise, restrain, and extend their wearers irreverent of the corporeal boundaries of individual selves.