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

JH

Melancholic Stichbury

AA
View Discussion
Peter Stichbury, Ray Bowyer, 2014, coloured pencil on paper, 42 x 35 cm Peter Stichbury's Sources and Methods as installed at Michael Lett. Peter Stichbury, Paul Bennewitz, 2014, coloured pencil on paper, 42 x 35 cm Peter Stichbury, Gordon Cooper, 2014, coloured pencil on paper, 42 x 35 cm Peter Stichbury, Thomas F. Mantell, 2014, coloured pencil on paper, 42 x 35 cm Peter Stichbury, Frederick Valentich, 2014, coloured pencil on paper, 42 x 35 cm Peter Stichbury, W. Pine Gap, 2014, coloured pencil on paper, 42 x 35 cm

Yet ‘masculinity' can be such a vague term, floating far apart from gender, human metabolism and anatomy. Maybe it is here co-joined with ethnicity, prosperity, education, or class. The ever-present unease that permeates Stichbury's consummate layered pencil crosshatching and grey paper support, makes the mental moods and psychological dispositions depicted within this array of elegant portraits persistently troubling.

Auckland

 

Peter Stichbury
Sources and Methods

 

6 August - 6 September 2014

Here we have a suite of ten framed Peter Stichbury drawings, all of young Caucasian men or teenagers, and made with coloured pencil on grey paper. They can be seen as aids used as preparation for the paintings, or as separate independent entities in their own right - the physiognomies based on downloaded pin shots, the names imaginatively constructed.

Considering the latter, they are a nice foil to his paintings, which though of both sexes, probably in the public’s mind tend to be more focussed on the glamorous young women. Both paintings and drawings dwell on a dreamlike fantasy, a sense of fashion and beauty far beyond everyday fashion and beauty. It is not so much satire they exude (they don’t mock; they’re affectionate) as tease out purity, draining away all traces of the prosaic. They exalt, they elevate.

As with the paintings, the drawn images of impeccable looking models are fastidiously executed. Like the painted doll-like dames, these youths and blokes have blemish-free skins and squeaky-clean hair that is perfectly combed. Lots of it. However they lack the vaguely triangular physiognomies of the paintings, and unlike the painted women who exude extraordinary self-confidence, there is a strong sense of anxiety and tenseness. They are uncomfortable about their place in the world. Yet it’s discreetly expressed.

This subtle restraint suggests some might be depressed. There is a pervasive gloominess with their glazed over, downward eyes, slightly sullen demeanour and tightly pursed lips. No smiles (or glimpses of teeth) or twinkling eyes (with wrinkled laughing corners) can be seen anywhere, these non-communicative ‘nerdy’ types tend to be withdrawn introverts. Denied the vivacity so apparent in the painted women, and wearing mostly formal jackets or military clothing to avoid casual attire, with their constructed images of carefully positioned light, widely spaced apart eyes and old fashioned hair styles, these exceedingly dapper, proud - though slyly morose - fellows are deadly serious.

About what is a mystery. What makes these portraits so subdued, so down? Perhaps the nuanced weight that they seem to carry is the ‘burden’ of masculinity? Yet ‘masculinity’ (like ‘femininity’) can be such a vague term, floating far apart from gender, human metabolism and anatomy. Maybe it is here co-joined with ethnicity, prosperity, education, or class. The ever-present unease that permeates Stichbury’s consummate layered pencil crosshatching and grey paper support, makes the mental moods and psychological dispositions depicted within this array of elegant portraits persistently troubling.

John Hurrell 

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

This Discussion has 1 comment.

Comment

Andrew Paul Wood, 3:33 p.m. 8 September, 2014

I find the mannerism tends to make them all look like clones of each other

Reply to this thread

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH
Installation of Jeena Shin's Movement Image Time exhibition at Two Rooms. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Shin Works on Canvas and Paper

TWO ROOMS

Auckland

 

Jeena Shin
Movement Image Time

 

27 October - 25 November

JH
John Stezaker, Marriage (Film Portrait Collage) CVI, 2013, collage, 30.3 x 23.3 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and The Approach, London.

Repulsively Enchanting Stezaker

CITY GALLERY WELLINGTON

Wellington

 

John Stezaker
Lost World

 

26 August -19 November 2017

JH
Tomislav Nikolic, How Long Must We Live Right Before We Don't Even Have To Try (Role Model), 2017: #1, mixed medai; #2, mixed media; #3, mixed media;

Tomislav Nikolic Paintings

FOX JENSEN MCCRORY

Auckland

 

Tomislav Nikolic

How long must we live right before we don’t even have to try

12 October - 11 November 2017

JH
Phil Dadson: Notation  Series #6 (961), painting; Tonethrone, instrument; HEADSUP@961: 23.8.16, projection

Dadson at Headlands

AUDIO FOUNDATION

Auckland

 

Phil Dadson
Shiver Me Timbres: Solos and Collaborations with a Multi-Voiced Instrument

 

5 October - 28 October 2017