"I was 20 years old in 1986. The year prior I had come out of the closet. It wasn't great timing since it was the height of the AIDS crisis, which put a damper on the desire that had plagued me as a closeted teen. Before leaving home I was like a matryoshka doll shaped largely by voluntary submission to culture-at-large and where genuine, vulnerable feelings were protected and given the agency through daydreams and fantasy. Basically, I tried to be what I thought was a typical Midwestern boy from day-to-day while living out a privare alterity through my own imagination.
But By 1986, nothing was scripted and actually seemed to reveal itself as precisely the opposite of how I had always understood it. The person I thought I should be before coming out was a combination of idealism and fantasy who embodied the mythos of American exceptionalism. And if life as it unfolded in my early 20s seemed a tragic mythopoeic for me—the space shuttle Challenger disaster in January 1986. It was a horrible fact played out on the evening news that ruptured my faith in a positivist ideal of order and progress, one of the remaining vestiges of a collective, American self-consciousness within me.
I think of the disaster in tandem with the AIDS crisis because I was on my way to participate in a protest when it happened. The protest was a kiss-in to demonstrate gay pride and to publicly disprove the falsehoods about the transmission of HIV being broadcast by the same media outlets replaying the shuttle disaster over and over that day. It was the first time I had ever participated in a public protest which was itself a very public, and utterly liberating demonstration of selfhood. Our nation's unwillingness to deal with the facts of the AIDS crisis and the outright contempt for its victims seemed surreally amplified that day by our collective national need to cope with the shuttle disaster. Looking back from a distance of time, the knotted cloud of smoke from the ill-fated Challenger became a potent, abstract symbol of grief, later echoed in the AIDS crisis by the red ribbon.
This is a long and self-indulgent way of getting at the work of P. Seth Thompson and Nathan Sharratt in whose work I recognize an excavation of selfhood that is painful, tragic, glorious, and revelatory. Their works seem to me to be about a sort of psychical détournement like the one I experienced as a young man, wherein the belief in an order of things is turned in upon itself contesting that very belief system. There is a vulnerable and profound self-reflection in their work, endeavoring to reconcile idealism and imagination with an ever-advancing understanding of reality and one's individuality. This is why I selected P. Seth and Nathan for this show. I respond to their work deeply, personally."
"Nathan Is a conceptual artist comfortable working in a variety of ways, including interactive performances. Much of his work has a playful, apparently ironic sheen. But that's mostly a disguise for his earnest exploration of human connectedness, as in the project "Be My Blood Brother." To draw a copy of a copy of a copy seems merely to rehearse the absurdity of belatedness except that it's also Nathan's response to fellow Atlanta conceptual artist Nikita Gale. What first appears as a collapse into exhaustion is really part of an active conversation."
"Nathan Sharratt's work takes on the notion of basic human connection and forces the viewer to actually experience that. I am continually impressed by his well-executed aesthetically beautiful, conceptual works; that are often cutting-edge technologically and an interactive treat for the viewer. His work is some of the most challenging yet stunning work I have seen in a long time."