"I am here" Myra Veres, photograph

 

SEXUALITY
IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY

October 27 - November 25, 2012

Opening reception: October 27 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

A multi-media show featuring local, national and international artists seeking to answer the question: What is the essence of human sexuality? Sexuality has been a driving and formative influence throughout history. Issues of contemporary sexuality exist in a rapidly changing climate of norms and expectations. What was considered typically male or female, even a decade ago, is quickly evolving, driven by a wide range of social forces. In modern times, issues of sexuality have often been associated with civil rights and the ongoing struggle of certain groups to shake off the burden of social, economic and political oppression. Nonetheless, despite its consistently controversial nature, sexuality remains an intensely subjective dimension of human life. Each of the art works in this show bring both personal and ideological perspectives, as each artist seeks to address particular aspects of their individual sexuality while presenting the phenomena of human sexuality through the lenses of artistic expression.

Please join us for this exhibition on the phenomenon of sexuality in the contemporary world of man and woman.

     

Phoebe Godfrey, "The Sleeping Lovers", oil on canvas

Based on Gustave Courbet's Le Sommeil, 1866, this painting is also known as The Two Friends and Indolence and Lust. It was commissioned by a Turkish diplomat who lived in Paris and was not allowed to be shown publically until 1888. The painting created an impact in 19th century art, because after it was shown, a number of contemporary artists were influenced by the theme of lesbian couples. Apparently, repetition of this theme helped to lower the taboos associated with lesbian relationships, at least as depicted in art. I chose to make the women much more 'red' to imply that they are in a post-lovemaking state, and yet at the same time I also chose to cover half of it given its contentious history. As a lesbian and painter, I have always wanted to do this painting, not only for its sensual beauty but also because I still think there is a great deal of censorship regarding lesbian sexuality when it is not directed at the 'straight male gaze'.

 

 

 

Mark Gerard McKee, "Daughter of Beeri," oil, found objects on wood & canvas

The biblical story of Judith and Holofernes is a much represented subject, especially during the Baroque period, where the drama of that tale lent itself to the theatrical works of artists like Caravaggio and Gentileschi. Daughter of Beeri revisits that much represented subject.

Rather than depict the act of beheading Holofernes as did those earlier artists, McKee seeks to explore the psychological turmoil faced by the heroine as femme fatale, and the revulsion, not so much with the beheading of her enemy as at having exploited her own sexuality as a weapon.

     
 

RT Spitz, Full Metal Ejaculation, welded metal

Guns, sex and violence permeate the modern experience of war. The creation of a "good" Marine, as represented in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film "Full Metal Jacket", is synonymous with the creation of a "killer". Each recruit is transformed into an element of a much larger force that "keeps heaven full of fresh souls". And, while not overtly visible, sexuality can be found throughout the film - in the insults directed at the young recruits, in the daily marching songs, and in the relationship encouraged, and even ordered, with one's weapon: "give it a female name", "sleep with it", "it's the last pussy you're going to have". The 7.62mm "full metal jacket" bullet provides the ultimate symbolism, bringing death through explosive penetration. In today's world of largely male-generated conflict, sexuality, as repressed urge or actualized violence, is ubiquitous. Recent neuroscience research has suggested that the propensity for sex and violence emanate from the same area in our brains. Are sex and violence thus

 

interchangeable? Is the violence we see around us on a daily basis an inevitable part of human life? Other research has also demonstrated that sperm are engaged in a competitive "battle" in the reproductive process. Through the possession of a wide array of physical and chemical characteristics, sperm alter their chances of reaching the egg. Dozens of adaptations have been documented in males that help them succeed in sperm competition. Thus, it seems that we are destined for competitive conflict from the very beginning of life.

Each of the sperm represented here is generated from a machine press used by a Connecticut gun manufacturing operation. Stamped sections become individual components of some type of gun or rifle. These discarded pieces of steel were taken from a pile of similar pieces that would easily fill this gallery many times over. The egg is a recycled "snow saucer", an object intended to contain a young child as he or she engages in the play activity of winter sledding. Contemporary sexuality - contemporary violence: the connections are all too apparent. Yet, is this fate, circumstance or choice?

     
Black Men/White Men from the
series Men Loving Men #5
David Greene
Silver gelatin print
Collection of Benjamin Ortiz
Men Loving Men #4
David Greene
Silver gelatin print
Collection of Benjamin Ortiz
Good Friends
Rodriguez Calero
Collage on paper, 18" x 4"
Collection of Benjamin Ortiz
     
 

"For many years, we have all been . . . under the spell
of an immense curiosity about sex, bent on questioning it,
with an insatiable desire to hear it speak and be
spoken about." ~ Michel Foucault

 

   
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