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  • ferristeaching

New regimes

My workplace is in flux, but at home everything stagnates.

Naked and Impaler. This is a metaphor for the existential condition, possibly specifically for men's mental health, or for gay guys, or for artists. I do not know; I just make them. That may seem silly, but believe me, no-one wakes up and says to themselves, 'Today I shall paint a picture that encapsulates Man's inhumanity to Man.' And even when they try for a precise political critique, the art descends into the trite and the partisan. I am only a card-carrying member if each of the above categories reflects an exact tribe or union - and I doubt anything that wide would stand much scrutiny.

For me paintings like Manet's 'Dejeurner sur l'herbe' is not just to be pilloried for its supposed disrespect of women. They may be dishabille while the men are clothed, but the bourgeois is criticised, the flaneur is ridiculed. But the pedigree of the painting is in dialogue with the history of art: Raphael, Marcantonio Raimondi, Giorgione lie behind it... and ultimately is it not in a sense an idyll? Is Cezanne's male bather grouping as reprehensible in that it includes no women? Hardly. Reading in and reading into are two different things, surely?

One of the biggest problems is that the viewer, even if trying for objectivity, brings so much baggage with them to the gallery. But if they rely purely upon the paint itself, we sink into pure formalism. But, whatever Roger Fry claims, there is no such thing as an Innocent Eye. I fought shy of submitting nude males to competitions for a long time, and indeed the lovely RA Summer Show rejected one. Predictably. But now the 'gay' ones seem to sell well on Saatchi. I added those inverted commas because one has to think about intention. They were not made to proclaim or shock, and more often than not were simply metaphors once more. The nude is non-specific in terms of time or epoch. I am male, so my stand-ins are also male.

I went to an interview at a publishers other than Random House and was asked if I was misogynist as the short stories were almost exclusively masculine. Errr, no! The content was 'gay,' with its inverted commas. They are literally fairy tales. But I never managed to get the contracted novel finished. Vanity publishing might well get a second short-story collection out there. Depends on the pressures of this website and earning enough to pay the darn rent!

No-one is reading this anyway, so I need not worry.

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