ITS A BOY
Cain’s new series of works references the figure and gently probes at confronting and challenging issues surrounding sexuality, gender and identity. Using ambiguity and stereotypes these playful works deconstruct the notions of sexuality and queer identity. These minimal paintings with their clean black lines, bright block colours and concealed text, are deceptively simple, yet offer a compounded complexity focusing’ in on the body, how its viewed, employed and interpreted.
Celebration of the male form certainly has a rich artistic precedence - from classical Greek sculptures of disrobed hero’s as exemplars of ‘masculinity’, to the subtle undertones of homoerotic desire, perhaps expressed by Michelangelo’s David -not to mention Donatello’s earlier, androgenous bonze version.
While a number of work from antiquity and beyond may have eroticised the male nude in carefully guarded ways, the opportunity to openly celibate the male form from a queer perspective is something altogether more recent. As Arthur Burms noted: “Cain asks in an accessible manner where the line between fetishism and representation is draw? “He does not give any answers but only states that what must be overcome is not homosexuality as such, but the public opinion that hinders living homosexuality”
Utilising the slick visual language of advertising - and it’s employment of the body - alongside themes and subtle undercurrents of Art History, Cain’s work points to the shift in focus of the male gaze. His clean reductive style evokes both a visual and spatial experience of the world around us, playfully toying with assumptions surrounding gender expression and identity, all of which are grafted onto the physical body.
Acrylic on Canvas
Embroidered towels then framed