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Geoff Chadsey
at Electric Works Gallery, San Francisco, California
Recommendation by Dewitt Cheng

Continuing through February 12, 2011

Young American males not so long ago had standard-issue role models: WASP cowboy/quarterback heroes, stalwart, stoic and slow to anger, but, once aroused, quick with a Peacekeeper (gun or missile). Serious art, however, never accepted Marlboro Man - at least until Richard Prince commoditized disillusionment - and Vitruvian Man suffered the slings and arrows of modernist distortion. Now mainstream culture has caught up. With cinema, sports and political heroes now revealed being as clay-footed (at least nonprofessionally) as the rest of us, there is no prevailing masculine norm; it\'s more complicated - and realistic

Geoff Chadsey\'s superbly weird drawings might be seen as part of this antiheroic trend. The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, saw his psychosexual fantasies as reflective of today\'s hybrid youth culture and our hybrid identities: \"Challenging our facility to read the signs of masculinity, femininity, race, attitude, and expression, Chadsey\'s images spin a complex web of emotion and desire.\" The artist: \"I draw fantasized photographs ... of androgynous, miscegenated, intergenerational fraternization. Hip-hop meets Google meets family album meets Internet chat-room. The drawings are covers and mash-ups of casual snapshots, professional portraiture, celebrity framing, and erotic posing: people performing selves for the camera and the computer.\"

Resolutely unglamorous, Chadsey\'s young men, no hunks, preen and pose, sometimes grotesquely transformed by superimpositions that seem to be materialized projections of their fantasies, like the vulpine shadow in \"Portrait (Pink Beak),\" the black mud luchador mask (or terrorist balaclava) in \"Blackface Rod,\" the dangling penis in the standing/spread-eagled protagonist of \"Marines,\" or the extra sets of arms in the androgynous \"Red Head (Shift).\" These drawings in water-soluble colored pencil on mylar are skillfully delineated, visually powerful, and, even these days, disturbing and provocative.

Electric Works Gallery

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