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This image encapsulates the many facets of this project - a climbing and reaching up towards the American flag, a sense of rebellion paired with intimate gestures, and ultimately a comfort and leisure of inhabiting the American pastoral with a confidence in one’s belonging. I reference the formality and romanticism of the Hudson River School’s early paintings, staging the figures as if it were a carefully architected painting.
The pairing of gestures speaks to the fluidity of masculinity - from a traditionally masculine act of smoking and climbing objects to a more tender moment of leaning on a shoulder. This visualization of male friendship and connection is a subtle one, taking place under a subdued, soft, moonlit sky, assuring the viewer that this scene is like that of any other group of rebellious boys in nature.