Archival samples, swatch bundle, found yarns, dyed monkscloth, dressmaker’s pins, glazed stoneware, nylon rope (with thanks to Pony), staples, and screws 74 1/2 x 40 1/2 x 4 3/4 in. (189.23 x 102.87 x 12.07 cm)
Laings’s practice pulls from many overlapping areas but at its center is always an intentional questioning and a very palpable dissonance or friction. His work creates and holds space for the idea of Queer bodies without specifically identifying who they are. There is an invitation extended to the viewer to engage but also enough nuance and subtlety that only those who seek shall find. The ideas around Queerness that these physical works and created spaces explore always seem to be just ahead of us. To come to rest on any one specific reading or arrangement seems unlikely. This refusal to reveal everything may sound at first like a refusal to commit, but it is this very refusal to commit that actually gives each of these works their power and renders them Queer. There is a conscious refusal to limit what they are and therefore to limit what they can become.
Laing moves easily between media, made easier by his greater interest in the concept than the object, or perhaps in the tension and friction between the two. There are often holes in Laing’s work. Literal holes, waiting to be filled; holes recently mended or embellished and existing only to act as a pass through; holes as exit or entry to another side or another idea. His work creates and holds space for other ways of thinking and other ways of being, even those of the viewer. His works are connected to his community-building and people-focused projects, different but linked in their exploration of spaces and the questioning of who and what gets to hold value within them. There is a conscious interrogation of intent behind all he produces and an intentional examination of both wanting to be seen and holding onto the power that comes from being invisible and/or not answering every question.