My work operates within an expanded field of inquiry into socially and culturally sanctioned versions of a hetero-normative masculinity. I explore the formation of my own gender identity by mining my personal history as a collection of events, experiences, thoughts, and lessons that have had a profound formative effect on the development of my sense of self; this embodied and emotionally complex sense of self often stands in sharp contrast with external cultural conventions and expectations of manhood found in the social realm.
I'm interested in the ways by which male identity manifests itself both publicly and privately. How gender, and in my case male gender, is performed and how a chasm between the personal experience and the cultural creation and sanctioning of gender identity can lead to a sense of double consciousness or personal rift within one’s sense of self. Subjects addressed in my work include emotional vulnerability, violence, control, sexuality, legacy, social hierarchies, and childhood development.
Early on, I explored these subjects through abstract painting and installation, but more recently my attention has shifted away from creating emotionally charged physical spaces, to examining the literal signifiers of my lived experiences, the objects and media that trigger memories and associations. My media interests have expanded to include sculpture, found objects, performance, audio and video, programming, and new technologies. Through my work, I am questioning established patriarchal gender hierarchies through the lens of my own fractured and multi-faceted experience of masculinity as embedded within the broader socio-cultural realm. In my self-exploration, I present points of reflection for the largely hidden phenomenological reality of the secret lives of men.
Eddie Villanueva (b.1983, Milwaukee) received his B.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-
Milwaukee and an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work has been featured
at the SCOPE Art Fair, Miami, and in Global Positioning System at the School of Visual Arts, New
York, the North American Graduate Art Survey at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Minneapolis, and
the Wisconsin Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. He received a Joan Mitchell
Foundation MFA Grant in 2012, and a Mary L. Nohl Emerging Artist Fellowship in 2013. He has
taught at UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Richland, and Brown University. Eddie Villanueva
is currently Assistant Professor and Foundations Coordinator at The College of New Jersey.