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Nicolo Gentile


As a queer athlete, my practice investigates identity and gender construction in relation to the idealized human form, sport, and bodybuilding. I am inspired by the linguistic overlap between art-making, bodybuilding, and gender construction: discipline, repetition, fitness. These loaded terms direct my initial lines of inquiry and inspire series of work which investigate how these terms inform and build upon one another as muscle builds upon the body. By reimagining forms, materials, and utilitarian objects characteristic of sport and fitness, I aim to subvert the object’s function and to propose an alternative understanding of both the object and that which it represents. My work proposes a contraposition which proposes a multifaceted and more varied narrative that resembles the nuanced relationship between our bodies and the expectations of health, wellness, and gender that influence and govern them today. CruciFlex is part of an ongoing series entitled Exercises in Sculpture, a material exploration of the world of athletics and a critical excavation of the queer lineage of western aesthetics and of Catholic iconography. 

A first-generation artist and sculptor living in Portland, Oregon, I received my undergraduate degree in General Fine Arts from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and studied abroad in the Spatial Studies program at the Victorian College of Art. My work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in Portland, Los Angeles, Paris, and Melbourne. I was a resident artist at the Leland Ironworks Residency and the Break Art Mix, and I have guest lectured at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland State University, and University of Cape Town.