Joey Terrill joins diverse mediums of zine-making, performance and painting in a body of work that tenderly encompasses his intimate experiences of intersecting queer, Chicano and artistic communities. Drawing from the existing visual culture surrounding him, Terrill combines personal photographs, found pop cultural imagery and reproductions of artworks by queer predecessors to conjure utopian landscapes. While Terrill’s early work captures intimacies between friends and lovers at the start of the AIDS crisis in his characteristic flat style, his later paintings trace developments in photorealism and Conceptual art, reflecting the artist’s discursive relationship to illusionistic space.
Throughout his upbringing in Southern California, Terrill had exposure to prominent creative scenes such as Luis Valdez’s El Teatro Campesino, Asco’s guerrilla performances, Ray Johnson’s New York correspondence school and the radically progressive Catholicism of Sister Corita Kent at Immaculate Heart College. Like many artists who came of age in the wake of Pop art, Terrill found refuge within the fantasies of American image culture—his earliest artworks covering his bedroom walls, which he transformed with a mix of drawings, photographs and clippings of comic books, film starlets and music icons. The artist combines his concentrated background in art and local activism, bringing a popular graphic style to depictions of Brown bodies, queer longing and Chicano culture.
Joey Terrill (b. 1955, Los Angeles, California) lives and works in Los Angeles, California, as Director of Community Partnerships for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. He has exhibited solo exhibitions and projects at Park View / Paul Soto, Los Angeles (2022); Ortuzar Projects, New York (2021); ONE Gallery, West Hollywood (2013); Ohio Union, Ohio State University, Columbus (2013); Norris Fine Art Gallery, Los Angeles (1993); Score Bar, Los Angeles (1984); and Windows on White Street, New York (1981). His work has been featured in the institutional surveys ESTAMOS BIEN–La Trienal 20/21, El Museo Del Barrio, New York (2020–2021); Touching History: Stonewall 50, Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs (2019–2020); Through Positive Eyes, Fowler Museum, University of California, Los Angeles (2019); Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A., Museum of Contemporary Art, Pacific Design Center and ONE Gallery, Los Angeles; and Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2011). His work has recently joined the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; El Museo del Barrio, New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.