Jake Preval’s expanded sculptural practice addresses the rituals and intimate enactments of queer desire, engaging sex—and, often, the materials of sex—to operate at the intersection of humour, celebration and social critique. Through processes of isolating, photographing, distorting and re-casting images, objects and detritus from queer culture, he teases out the complex relationships queer has with its own past, as well as its theorised and lived realities. Preval places himself at the centre of this dialogue, often in absurd and revealing manifestations, producing diverse outcomes including psycho-sexual sculptural assemblages and ononastic performative video installations.
Preval is interested in how materials might be used to think through social and sexual encounters, with recent projects such as The Submissive Sculpture exploring how the psychological states experienced as a ‘submissive’ in queer BDSM practices might shape studio methods for creating new sculptural works. While the processes and contexts are invariably tough and uncompromising, Preval’s work is filtered through a distinctly absurdist lens; it engages black humour and a playful lexicon of materials to tease out the monumental from the everyday.
The work of Jake Preval was a noteworthy beat: an absurdist comedy, bizarre exhibition of intimacy, delightful intersection of various modes of making. When a sexual submissive phones their trusted dominatrix for instructions on making art, I’m not surprised to see a clay foot transpire. In fact, I’d like to see what happens next…
Marielle Soni, The Review Board, 6 August 2021.