Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.


Paterson at Gow Langsford

View Discussion

While it is indisputable that our culture is indeed homophobic, making a connection between the murdered victims of gay bashing and these animal portraits is bizarre - to put it kindly.


Reuben Paterson

Dear Beauty, Dear Beast

24 February - 20 March 2010

The ten glitter paintings by Reuben Paterson currently on show at Gow Langsford feature several portraits of big cats such as lions, tigers and panthers - along with some carpet-like square paintings and the occasional design loaded with floral motifs.

The works seems to reference kitsch, not only sentimental animal portraits that are painted but also woven rugs and towels. However, in contrast, the titles allude to something quite different - the animal-like cravings of sexual desire, with loaded titles such as (obviously) The Passion, The Nether Regions, Estrous, The Bed’s Spread of Provocation and The Erotic Champions of The World.

With the glitter as a ‘queer ‘signifier one would assume this references homo horniness, more than hetero. They celebrate the frenzied bodily frictions of same sex carnality. Danger and violence, by implication, is part of that.

That is of course if you emphasise the titles. Otherwise the works are just technically accomplished feline portraits, pitched to those who love the big ferocious carnivores of Africa or India. And maybe the tropes in the titles are a bit heavy-handed.

Certainly in the Gow Langsford statement for the show the claim that “Paterson views these works, in part, as a personal homage to the victims of murder cases which have successfully used the provocation or “gay panic” defense. The work suggests that in the same way that we have an underlying culture of racism, there is also an underlying culture of homophobia.”

Paterson, on radio for example, is normally an immensely gifted artist interviewee - one extremely eloquent and articulate. Here though, we have the worst kind of inane motor-mouthed rhetoric. While it is indisputable that our culture is indeed homophobic, making a connection between the murdered victims of gay bashing and these animal portraits is bizarre - to put it kindly. The signals are very confusing - almost a celebration of homophobic violence rather than a condemnation.

With a title of Dear Beauty, Dear Beast, go figure.


Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email


Recent Posts by John Hurrell

Runo Lagomarsino, If you don't know what the south is, it's simply because you are from the north, 2009, stack of posters, 42 x 32.5 cm each. Courtesy the artist, Francisca Minini, Milano, Mendes Wood DN, Sao Paulo and Nils Stark. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Southern Lights




International Group Show 
From Where I Stand, My Eye Will Send A Light To You In The North

12 August - 21 October 2018

Hikalu Clark, Accurate Community Projections, 2018, on the reeves Rd billboards. Commissioned by Te Tuhi Auckland. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Site Specific Hoardings

Te Tuhi billboards on Reeves Rd



Hikalu Clarke
Accurate Community Projections


12 August -21 October 2018

Benjamin Work's Write it on the land, Seal it on the heart, 2018, as installed on Te Tuhi's Project Wall. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Work’s Revamped Tongan Coat of Arms

Te Tuhi's Project Wall



Benjamin Work
Write it on the land, Seal it on the heart


12 August - 21 October 2018

Gary McMillan, Scene 37, 2018, acrylic on linen (framed), 45 x 60 cm

Granular Cityscapes



Gary McMillan
Phase IV

23 August - 22 September 2018