LANDON BAILEY HIGGINS
Lives and works in New York
Higgins is known for his vibrant paintings depicting luminous gummy bears. These paintings are characterized by smooth gradients of color and dramatic lighting. Though the narratives often tell of disconnection and longing, the paintings maintain a playful essence reminiscent of adolescence, pleasure, and innocence. In these whimsical yet tender narratives, the gummy bear functions as a vehicle for self-identification, exploration of light, and permeating scenes of isolation.
Stemming from growing up in a conservative, Christian culture, Higgins felt mired in the struggle to reconcile his homosexuality in an environment where acts of intimacy were reserved for others. As a result of this, the choice of the color of Higgins’s gummy bears is very specific. The red and blue characters symbolize heteronormative and gender-based colors assigned to men and women by societal structures, while the orange gummy bears symbolize “the other”, those who find themselves existing outside of the conventions of society. The portrayal of intimate acts between two characters, one red and one blue, while a singular golden figure peers in is Higgins’s way of illustrating his own longing for meaningful and romantic human connection. The gummy bear in Higgins’s paintings can also be interpreted as a pop-cultural icon and because of this, as an homage to New York, the birthplace of pop art and the city that made it possible for Higgins to live out his identity, free from prejudices.