Friday, May 18, 2007

Toni Latour's "Drag King Project" and Shane Golby's "Little Men," Harcourt House, May 17 - June 16, 2007

Lesser known than its flamboyant counterparts of the square-jawed Rita Hayworths and Judy Garlands, The Drag King is the female-based reincarnation of the ideal macho male (though many come off as pretty boys resembling the Elvis Presleys and James Deans.)
Toni Latour represents a series of Drag Kings, mostly in camp macho male roles, from construction workers to lumberjacks, posing against sterile white backgrounds. The subjects embody the male stance, legs spread apart, arms crossed and looking directly into the camera. The subjects are removed from any time or place, existing in and of itself and amongst only each other on the walls. Removed from any social or cultural context, the heroic imagery comes off as exoticised and timeless, closely resembling an advertisement of the male gender. These men, taken out of the world in which they are challenging and perhaps transcending, appear more than anything else, as specimens.

While Vancouver-based LaTour plays with the gender bender lines of one facet of lesbian identification, Alberta's own Shane Golby has less to offer for his representation of homosexuality and homophobia. Shouting his message across in pastel-washed rally headlines and Playgirl-esque stereotypes of the chiseled male nude, Golby's pieces doesn't leave much for the imagination or conversation. More a craft project or protest sign than an exhibition art piece, communication through art is hard-pressed when there's little room left for opposing opinions.

3 comments:

Tam said...

La Tour's prints did have a real presence to them, and I enjoyed the 'quote wall', it gave insight to the images in a rewarding, symbiotic way. I'm not too sure about the video though, I think what she was trying to capture may have been lost in the bland white background without the stage, lights, atmosphere and fans of the original context.

Anonymous said...

This is so true. Kudos for telling it like it is. I'd be afraid of hurting feelings and I probably wouldn't write about it at all. I knew I didn't like this work, but you really nailed it down for me. Whew. I hope the anonymous button really works.

MC said...

I'll second that: as long as you're criticizing the art (and not the artist), you shouldn't ever have to give a second thought to 'hurting feelings'.