How Men Are
How Men Are a group exhibition of new work by Mat Humphrey, August Künnapu, Mark Mcgowan, Christopher Owen, Harry Pye, Kes Richardson and Gavin Toye featuring drawing, painting, sculpture, text, video and performance that coincides with the 40th anniversary of Valerie Solanas publishing her SCUM manifesto. Solanas, who is best known for shooting Andy Warhol, claimed that men are biological accidents or "walking abortions". She argues that to be male is to be deficient as all men are "emotional cripples". The male artists contributing work to this show are all painfully aware of their faults and weaknesses but still feel they have something to give. The title of this show comes from a line of a song Roddy Frame wrote in the 1980's - "Why should it take the tears of a woman to see how men are?"
Kes Richardson is contributing a series of intimate portraits of mass murderers as seen through the eyes of their mothers. Kes says: "Mothers always see the good in their children. Maybe my paintings will make the viewer question: Is evil inherent or a by-product of conditioning?"
Mark Mcgowan promises to attend the private view dressed in white, shining a light on people throughout the evening. Mark says: "My aim is to transform everyone's energy into pure positive brightness enhancing their auras. Hopefully people will hold each other and feel rapture."
Mat Humphrey is contributing 3-D paintings about love. Mat thinks there are two main types of love. "Love is what you feel for your friends and family, and I like it. The other sort of love is like being chemically bombarded, rewired mentally, and radio controlled by a psychotic sadist. I've found that avoidance of that sort of love can lead to happiness. But, I have a strange attraction to cruel women"
Harry Pye is contributing a video called, "Women of the World Take Over" For 2 months Harry has been using his powers of persuasion to lure attractive young women to the Sartorial gallery and be filmed by Gordon Beswick as Greta Sarfaty gives them a free psychic reading. Harry is also exhibiting 5 paintings of men and cats. Garrison Keillor once observed that cats are intended to teach us that not everything in life has a function or purpose.
Christopher Owen is a man of mystery. When Harry sent an e-mail to Chris asking him to write an artist's statement or describe what he was putting into the show the only response he received was a text message that said - "You're not my real mum, you can't tell me what to do."
Gavin Toye is contributing 2 paintings of a toy Darth Vader. Gav says: "In my paintings it's the plastic - the toy itself, which is a stronger image than Darth Vader, the STAR WARS character, as the toy is in the physical realm and is a symbol itself of a historical character that stands for the struggle between good and evil. It's that physical realm which connects the image to the painting - the paint is as plastic as the subject is. (Formalist principles still dictate his methods). Along with using Darth Vader I want to reference art history and the setting. The skies come from a desire to associate Darth Vader with religious imagery."
August Kunnapu likes his paintings to be pure and simple. An Estonian writer called Hanno Soans observed that everything Kunnapu touches with his paint brush turns into a self portrait and added the artist also had, "an unbelievably sincere faith in the healing quality of good painting." August's work in the show is inspired by his father, uncle and other positive male role models.
How Men Are is curated by Harry Pye. Visitors to the show will receive a free copy of Harry Pye's "REBEL" magazine which features Becky Beasley, Morven Crumlish, Cathy Lomax and Stephanie Moran giving their personal responses to Valerie Solanas and her Scum manifesto.