Wesley Harvey is originally from Van Buren, Indiana, “the popcorn capital of the world.” He received his BFA in Ceramics in 2002 from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and then received his MFA in Ceramics in 2007 from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Wesley has exhibited his artwork both nationally and internationally, and is also a curator. His artwork can be found in various publications including Ceramics Monthly, Art in America, 500 Contemporary Ceramic Sculptures, the Essential Guide to Mold Making & Slip Casting, and more. His artwork is included in permanent and private collections in the United States, South America, China, and Italy. In the spring of 2017, Wesley had artwork in the Whitney Biennial exhibiting as a participating member of Debtfair, an installation and project of Occupy Museums. He currently lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia and is a Lecturer in Ceramics at the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design at Georgia State University.
My current body of artwork examines gay male sexuality through the lens of queer theory using appropriation, drawing, and collage to create narratives on hand-built ceramic objects including plates, teapots, vessels, and cups as well as works on paper, paintings, and photography. I want to address the social and cultural differences of “being gay” in a society that is becoming more accepting of what used to be a scarlet letter worn only in the shadows of back alleys and dimly lit rooms. I want to examine not only the normative behavior but also the deviant lifestyle that often gets neglected and chastised. With previous artwork, I was examining my surroundings and personal encounters as the influence for the start of the collage process. Recently, I have put myself aside as the starting point and have begun looking at others, almost in a voyeuristic way, using personal ads posted to websites, specifically Craig’s List, online apps, chat rooms, and dating sites. In this online realm, I can find both the normative and the deviant behaviors that interest me and help to create the narratives that begin on paper and often transition to ceramics.
The Baroque and Rococo periods provide a great source of inspiration for me. The use of gold and floral designs in excess give me a visual overload of imagery and objects that deeply satisfy my tawdry desires. Ancient Greek and Roman pottery are an endless source for my starting point when working with ceramics. Kitsch and popular culture let me appropriate an endless supply of imagery that teeters from the extreme tacky to the candy-coated sickness that lies in the heart of both kitsch and popular culture. Drag queens share my love of gold, glitter, and excessive prettiness that I adore. Illustrations from 1960’s male physique magazines allow me to appropriate a fantasy male subject who is handsome and extremely physically fit, that interacts with other men in encounters that ride a line between caring and loving to deviant sexual acts that can be sometimes hard to look at.