In "All Turned Around,” which is a large piece, the subject is presented almost life-size in a somewhat formal pose. But there’s a moment when the viewer can feel disconcerted when first observing the work. The body is facing us, but the head is turned around facing in the opposite direction. That confusion or disorientation is exactly what I intended. It is a social interpretation of how it feels to be a gay man with a strong masculine body yet there is conflict within. Often I hear a common theme with gay men who have worked very hard to enhance their bodies, sometimes to epic proportions. Most in their youth were bullied and singled out as queer, even at times before the person has self-identified. In their adult lives, they’ve chosen to work on their bodies as a form of protection, but in that common theme, I found many of the men cannot make their body perfect enough. There’s always more work to be done and perfected, often even to body dysmorphia.
I like to blur the lines of chronological and historical order, blending technology with a traditional encaustic surface. The execution of this work comes from two different inspirations, René Magritte with its obvious surreal nature, and the Dutch Masters. By placing him into a dark and moody background, “All Turned Around,” is reminiscent of Magritte who was a master of putting unrelated objects together.
The sonnet that companies:
a union that suggests the essential
myst’ry of the world. art is not an end
in itself, but a means of evoking that mystery full
of things turned in a difference to bend
time to the inclusion of the sway pink
sways with time and counting the minute hand
is left unjust for censored versions sink
into the covered nakedness of man
not just any but the one we’re seeing
standing back in front, standing in the back
of being there in
front of his gleaming
tattooed on his left of right with no lack
of nakedness all turned around he’s stayed
in mystery evoking what we made.
“It is a union that suggests the essential mystery of the world. Art for me is not an end in itself, but a means of evoking that mystery.
René Magritte on putting seemingly unrelated objects together in juxtaposition” -Glueck, Grace, "A Bottle Is a Bottle"; The New York Times, 19 December 1965.