Statement + Bio
Quilts, weeds, yellowing wallpaper, firewood, a taxidermy bear and Colonial-Revival couch—my works reach across generational divides through a language of form and material dialect. Probing the images and cultural artifacts from my geographical, familial and domestic background reveals gaps in which I can insert and reconstruct my own complicated narrative as a nerdy Appalachian queer guy. In this space, stories of cruising men and family past-times are pieced together as a multi-layered patchwork of text, images, patterned cloth, personal clothing, furniture, wallpaper, drawings and found domestic textiles. These saturated works draw attention to the often murky intersection of personal desires and family institutions, as well as openly question our larger social constructions of deviancy, shame, adolescent imprinting and heteronormativity.
Aaron McIntosh grew up in Kingsport, TN, a factory town in the Appalachian foothills of East Tennessee. A fourth-generation quilter, his family’s working class environment and domestic life figure large in his visual vocabulary. In his work McIntosh explores the intersections of material culture, family tradition, identity-shaping, sexuality and desire in a range of works including quilts, collage, drawing, sculpture and furniture. His areas of research include identity politics, Appalachian history, queer theory, material culture studies, and critical craft theory.
McIntosh’s education includes a BFA from the Appalachian Center for Craft and a MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. His exhibition record includes numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Quilt National ’09, Queer Threads: Crafting Identity & Community at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art in New York, Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles, and most recently Queering the Bibliobject at the Center for Book Arts in New York. His personal essays and critical reviews have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic and the Journal of Modern Craft. McIntosh holds numerous awards, including two Windgate Fellowships (2006 & 2015), a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant (2013), and a Richmond-based CultureWorks community engagement grant (2017).
McIntosh currently lives in Richmond, VA, where he teaches Fiber/Textiles in the Craft/Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University.