Associate Professor, Fibres & Material Practices, Studio Arts
Aaron McIntosh is a cross-disciplinary artist whose work mines the intersections of material culture, family tradition, sexual desire and identity politics in a range of works including quilts, sculpture, collage, drawing and writing. As a fourth-generation quilt maker whose grandparents were noted quilters in their Appalachian communities, this tradition of working with scraps is a primary platform from which he explores the patchworked nature of identity. Since 2015, McIntosh has managed Invasive Queer Kudzu, a community storytelling and archive project across the LGBTQ South.
His work has been exhibited at the Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Yale University's Green Art Gallery, the International Quilt Study Center, the Los Angeles Craft & Folk Art Museum and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art in New York City. His current research creation project, Hot House/Maison Chaude, is supported by a 2020-2023 SSHRC Insight Development grant. Additionally, McIntosh is a recipient of the 2020 United States Artist Fellowship in Craft, a 2018 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship, a 2017 Virginia Culture Works Grant, and two Center for Craft Windgate Fellowships in 2006 and 2015. He has held residencies at the Oakspring Garden Foundation, Banff Centre, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. His critical writing has been published in the Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, the Surface Design Journal, and the Journal of Modern Craft.
As an educator, McIntosh is committed to transforming and diversifying the next generation of fibre/textile artists. Since 2010, he has taught in the Fibre programs of James Madison University, the Maryland Institute College of Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, and currently is an Associate Professor in the Fibres & Material Practices program at Concordia University.
FBRS 260 / Textile Printing and Dyeing I
FBRS 385 / Special Topics: Piecework as Paradigm
FBRS 480 / Advanced Fibres
FBRS 610 / MFA Studio: Fibres & Material Practices
DISP 615 / Directed Studio Practice
My research is engaged with the complex histories of my personal and artistic lineage, negotiating traditional and contemporary culture through object-making and storytelling. 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. In saturated objects, stories of cruising gay men and family past-times collide to draw attention to the murky intersection of personal desires and family institutions, as well as openly question our larger social constructions of deviancy, shame and heteronormativity. My intention is to celebrate queer vivacity while challenging the pitfalls of visibility.
As a fourth-generation quilter, my work is rooted in the material, process and cultural attributes of quilt-making. Quilt-like accumulation and piecework are primary across my practice, whether I’m sewing fabric, gluing pages or arranging cut-outs.Coursing through my work, the quilt's possibility as a language, form and tool make it an expansive medium for my multifaceted stories. My research broadens our understanding of scrapwork and seeks to expand the concept of piecework or patchwork as a global expressive form aligned with identity formation.
My ongoing fascination with the entangled histories and futures of plants, people and sexuality have led me on a meandering pathway which draws on fields as diverse as evolutionary biology, queer ecology, science fiction, ethnobotany, eco-feminism, social practice and institutional critique. My recent project, Hot House/Maison Chaude, is both a series of related artworks, as well as a structural and theoretical container for them. The project references the greenhouse, or “hot houses” of the 19th century, projecting “world-building” potential into a structural form built to simultaneously protect and nourish growth of special species. The core components of the project include an indexed catalogue of plants of the natural world that have intertwined histories with human sexual and gender evolutions, a series of drawings and lithographic prints of speculative queer plant “herbals” for healing contemporary issues, sculptural quilts featuring images of queer figures throughout human history being entangled by culturally-specific queer plants, and a fabricated mobile greenhouse structure housing a series of plant sculptures being nourished by a “queer compost” of various pulped 2SLGBTQ texts and ephemera
Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, US
Gallery 360, June 28 - Oct 20, 2023
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, US
Nov. 21, 2020 — Feb. 14, 2021
© Concordia University