Johannes Zits' paintings explore representations of gay sexuality within the context of painting. His new work continues in this vein, presenting images of bar interiors and gay couples, on a scale and in the style of Abstract Expressinoism. The result is a kind of warring of two disparate languages: the extreme America machismo of Abstract Expressionism with its almost hyperbolic expression of a private subjective state and the contemporary representations of the more politicized private spaces of gay bars. Zits' work poses questions pertaining to the language of painting-laden with a modernist history-and the language of contemporary media culture with its emphasis on issues of identity and social space and sets up a tension between the two.
The sense of touch has become the main focus of my work. Touch is implied not oly i the depiction of two bodies engaged in various acts of coupling, but in an individual's longing and desire for a state of intimacy. On another level, I also express touch through my handling of the formal elements in my paintings. The manner in which the paint itself is applied is as much a part of the content as the subjects the paint depicts.
Through my deliberate use of brush stroke marks and controlled drips and splashes of paint, I physically convey the sense of touch. The two pop artists Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstien also used paint application, in their case, to comment on the tactile marks of the Abstract Expressionist. Johns ran counter to his predecissors' bold techniquesby carefully controlling, almost caressing layers of encaustic paint Lichtenstein poked fun at expressionist painting strokes and splashes by synthetically recreating these marks and turning them into paintings themselves.
While acknowledging both Pop and Abstract Expressionists, however, I am also re-evaluating the latter's aggressive machismo by depicting what would have been unacceptable in their time: images of men loving men in intimate and private encounters. And while the Pop artists avoided eschewed emotional content, my paintings deal with issues that men find difficult in articulating verbally: alluding to tenderness, passion and longing in situations seldom depicted in the past and rarely presented in public.