My recent work questions the foundations of mainstream concepts of masculinity. I contrive fictional worlds where men exist in awkward relationships with one another, teetering uneasily between the forces that have shaped them and those that threaten to destroy them. This work explores how boys are socialized and how this socialization affects both their identity as adults and their interactions with other men. The humor inherent in my narratives emphasizes the sometimes absurd preconceptions and behaviors that influence relationships between men.
In this series, certain connections have developed between my working practice and the content in my work. The figures in my compositions are drawn or painted from photo-based collages made by recombining parts from various images of men. My source images include my own photos as well as images collected from the internet and other mass-media sources. The collage process references how boys form their concept of male roles, i.e. by piecing together the perceived characteristics of cultural icons and stereotypes with those of influential men in their lives. The awkwardness of the figures resulting from this method reflect both the challenge men face to integrate these disparate qualities and the difficulties they encounter in their efforts to live up to society’s ambiguous role expectations. Incompletely rendered forms and evidence of erasure, correction, obfuscation, and expressive processes refer to the actual art-making as well as to the mutability of gender constructs and the struggle boys face in their efforts to forge a masculine identity.
Gallery Gray presents:
a solo exhibition by Brad Guarino