What’s Behind the Papered-over Windows at Outlet Gallery: NSFW | Male Nudes by Female Painters

March 18 - April 17, 2016

GaHee Park “Studio Visit” 2015 Oil on canvas, 65 x 85”

GaHee Park “Studio Visit” 2015 Oil on canvas, 65 x 85”

OK, the women are finally getting their day, turning the objectifying tables and whatnot, and now we’re going to see some female subtlety and range of emotion.

However, when I take a hard look (haha), it stands (haha) to reason that what women are really interested in is the penis. Cocks are front and center and a bit larger and less integrated into the male body than many male painters have depicted them. The women, even while painting, are keeping an eye out, looking for any sign of life perhaps– so they can get to procreating. Which as so many nature shows make clear is what we animals are here for.

Margot Bird “Male Nude, Expression” 2016 Acrylic on canvas 60 x 48”

Margot Bird “Male Nude, Expression” 2016 Acrylic on canvas 60 x 48”

But wouldn’t it also stand to reason that women would look at men not just as good times and sperm but also as future fathers, providers and protectors (mostly from other men)?

How about this guy? He has a friendly look and healthy equipment. Is he Brad Pitt in “Thelma and Louise” giving you your first orgasm and then stealing your money and then you’re off on a crime spree and driving over the cliff? Or is he Cliff Huxtable, stable family man and a doctor even? Oh dear, we know how that played out, too.

Alexandra Rubenstein “John Paul #1” 14 x 11”, “John Paul #2”, 14 x 11” “Erich” 20 x 11 inches, all oil on canvas 2016

Alexandra Rubenstein “John Paul #1” 14 x 11”, “John Paul #2”, 14 x 11”
“Erich” 20 x 11 inches, all oil on canvas 2016

Or what do you think of these sentimentalized soft porn beauties? My assumption is that no woman would be attracted to guys who can’t stop looking at their own dick. But what do I know? Seriously, what do I know—my interest in the male nude is purely aesthetic.

Most of the paintings show men posed and have an art studio look but “Studio Visit” (see above) is a fully formed scene. Despite the title, it screams Marriage and the domestic life. The nude with the funny boner is painting a female nude and this is odd and wonderful because we know the woman is the painter. But she is sitting at the table drooling—does she want a piece of that?– while an extra hand pours her a glass of wine. The painting is intricately plotted and full of surprises in composition, patterns, color and content– a picture of horses copulating , a mother-in –law plant that tickles his ass, trompe l’oeil textures, still life, I couldn’t stop looking at it.

Helen Selsdon “Joel sleeping Cape May” 2011 Oil on board 18.75 x 14.5”

Helen Selsdon “Joel sleeping Cape May” 2011 Oil on board 18.75 x 14.5”

“Joel Sleeping…” is a funny one too. Copulation completed, the guy enjoys la petite mort and the woman gets to work with her paintbrush. He is sliding off the painting—sliding out of her life, too?

GaHee Park “Saying Grace” 2013 Oil on canvas 28 x 22”

GaHee Park “Saying Grace” 2013 Oil on canvas 28 x 22”

I suppose men do often lay their penis on the kitchen table when they’re alone to give it some support? And the dog would then take a companionable interest.

I was hoping for a lot, i.e., a couple thousand years of lost paintings by women, for Chrissake. I’ve been reading “The Neapolitan Series” by Elena Ferrante. Her observation of boys and men is very acute and she describes women too. I’d say, the female painters have a rich field awaiting them when they turn their eyes away from abstraction. This show brought me down to earth but it also ignited my curiosity — I want more. – CNQ

 

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