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

JH

Paterson at Gow Langsford

AA
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.

Auckland


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

JH
Us v Them: Tony de Lautour, installation view at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. Photo: John Collie

Tony de Lautour Survey

CHRISTCHURCH ART GALLERY TE PUNA O WAIWHETU

Christchurch

 

Tony de Lautour
Us v Them


4 May - 9 September 2018

JH
Installation of Susan Te Kahurangi King's Paperdwellers: Works from 1967-1980 at Artspace, Auckland. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Battered by Rag-Dolls and Exhibition Designers

ARTSPACE

Auckland

 

Susan Te Kahurangi King
Paperdwellers: Works 1967 - 1980


1 June - 14 July 2018

JH
Peter Stichbury's Altered States exhibition, as installed at Michael Lett.

Peter Stichbury’s ‘Outer Body’ Portraits

MICHAEL LETT

Auckland

 

Peter Stichbury
Altered States

 

30 May - 30 June 2018

JH
Ash Keating's Gravity System Response exhibition as installed at Fox Jensen McCory.

Ash Keating Paintings

FOX JENSEN MCCRORY

Auckland

 

Ash Keating
Gravity System Response

 

31 May - 17 July 2018