Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Scoop Homes and Art 37 Contents What does it mean to be a man in the twenty-first
century, when so many changing definitions of
masculinity are in collision? How do boys navigate
this increasingly complicated gendered terrain on the path to
maturity? Casey Ayres has explored his own journey, and that
of his generation, in a series of exhibitions at the OK Gallery in
Perth, and the young Western Australian artist is about to embark
on a major new project that will undoubtedly sharpen his focus.
In his previous exhibitions – Picnic at Fanging Rock, Tunc and
Interregna – Ayres has recast his own life through a series of filmic
tableaux, or stills from a film-noir retelling of a childhood suffused
with the tropes of gender construction and peppered with a large
serving of anxiety. From a brightly coloured kindergarten painting
to a cabinet of sporting trophies, to the dark and sinister baseball
bats he presented in Tu n c , Ayres traces his pathway through
innocence to manhood with confronting candour.
Against a backdrop of cars and bikes, tools and grease, basic
mechanics and hard labour, he retells the familiar narrative of
a suburban adolescence, but with underlying menace, teetering
on the edge of violence. In Picnic at Fanging Rock, he focuses on
the cult of the car and its identification with virility, with speed
and power and a sexualised adrenaline rush. His photographs
elaborate the existential dilemma of contemporary masculine
identity: drag races shrouded in the haze of burning rubber and
high-octane emissions, i nterspersed with photographs of his
grease-stained hero lamenting his lost love while carrying,
Pieta-like, the car’s remains to a last resting place.
In tandem, Ayres has also explored his dual heritage as an Asian
Australian through his collaboration with Abdul Abdullah and
Nathan Beard in The Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Their project
of exhibitions, events and video examines multiculturalism in the
context of globalisation, where reconciling cultural sensitivity
with social alienation becomes increasingly perplexing.
Along with Abdul Abdullah, Ayres is about to embark on a
residency at the University of Western Australia, where he will
have the opportunity to bring the two concurrent strands of his
practice into sync through an intensive period of creative activity.
It will be interesting to see what eventuates in July, when the
residency culminates in the presentation of the video work he
creates in the PRO/JECT space at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.
Ayres has his finger on the briskly beating pulse of important
issues that are shaping contemporary experience, which makes
him an artist to watch as we move headlong into the second
decade of the twenty-first century.
ARTIST TO WATCH
By appointment outside of
Enquiries to Anna Kanaris
ph: +61 8 9336 7787
m: 0418 900 954
Bugai Whyoulter, 152 x 106cm
Janine McAullay Bott
Palm fronds and curtain rod rings
South Fremantle based, we operate by appointment outside of our quarterly
exhibition programme, details of which can be found on our website.
Representing award winning Nyoongah Bush Sculptor Janine McAullay Bott.
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