Seattle-based artist Molly Jae Vaughan’s work addresses representations of transgender people, including the erasure and violence they experience. For the next iteration of the Boren Banner Series, Vaughan will create a new work from her ongoing project After Boucher, in which she reimagines drawings by the French artist François Boucher (1703–70). Vaughan inserts transgender bodies and genderqueer mythological characters into the opulent and romantic world of Rococo—an eighteenth-century style of art and decoration characterized by its excessive ornamentation and pastel palette. In Vaughan’s hands, heroic queer protagonists fluidly inhabit Boucher’s pastoral scenes, creating visions of queer resplendence and pleasure.
Of her motivations for the project, Vaughan cites the exclusion of transgender people from the Western art historical canon. Boucher’s theatrical scenes of erotic and sentimental love reinvented the idyllic pastoral tradition, introducing an aesthetic of gender ambiguity. After Boucher creates a new visual history of transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming individuals within the context and imagery of the romantic and luxurious environments of the Rococo period. The monumental scale of the Boren Banner, a public artwork that occupies the eastern facade of the Frye Art Museum, asserts the visibility and agency of transgender people, not just within Boucher’s compositions but also into the institutional space of the museum and the collections housed within. Vaughan’s Boren Banner image dialogues critically—and playfully—with the nineteenth-century pastoral landscapes in the Frye’s Founding Collection." (Promo Copy)