Below the Eyes: Sexuality and Averting the Gaze with Linda Stein

Thu, 20 January 2022, 18:30 – 19:30
ONLINE VIA ZOOM Recorded video below

In rereading my diaries from the 1960s, I am reliving the angst I felt as I confronted my sexuality at a time when the words lesbian and gay were hardly mentioned. There was an enormous amount of stigma attached to the word homosexual, which was listed as a mental illness by the psychiatric association.

My shame then was visceral and intense.

At the time, I was drawing and painting frontal faces. In diary notations, I wrote: Some of these faces I am drawing look back at me with disdain, even disgust. I need to make sure they can’t see me. I have to leave the eyes out altogether and begin just below the eyes.

Was I averting the gaze, as we say in today’s lingo––the gaze of my own drawings and paintings staring critically back at me? I had to be sure that none of these faces had the means to see me, this me that was so very bad.” (Linda Stein)

Linda Stein is an activist visual artist, writer, lecturer, performer, and videographer living in New York City. Her work often deals with themes of protection and otherness, inspired by the artists own struggles with acceptance and sexuality. Stein is the Founding President of the non-profit organization Have Art: Will Travel! Inc. (HAWT) for Gender Justice, addressing bullying and diversity.

Talk with Alex Talbot Rice

Sat 15 January, 15.00- 16.00

Email to book

Join renowned portrait artist and alumni Alex Talbot Rice as he discusses his personal experience of studying at Durham University, before becoming an artist. Classically trained both at The Florence Academy of Art and The Repin Academy of Art St. Petersburg, Talbot Rice will share recent projects, commissions and inspirations while exploring some of his recent techniques and materials. The event will include opportunities for audience questions.

mock up poster near wall
Photo by Monstera on

Curators Picks

We have asked Durham University Curators from the Art Collection, Durham Castle, the Museum or Archaeology and the Oriental Museum to tell us about a piece in their collection that relates to the theme of HIDDEN. . .

Durham Castle

Find out more about the portraits uncovered in Durham Castle’s Collection.

Oriental Museum

Listen to Assistant Curator, Gill Ramsay, as she shows you objects from the Oriental Museum and their HIDDEN meaning.

Museum of Archeology

Join Curator, Gemma Lewis, as she shows you object that have been HIDDEN, found and researched as part of the archeology collection.

Art Collection

Coming soon…