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My current body of work addresses obsession via fetishized masculinity. Treated at once as powerful Gods and inanimate objects, The Boy Band (e.g. One Direction, CNCO) presents an interesting cultural artifact of masculinity and female desire. The Boy Band is a capitalist tool tailor made to fit into a teenage girl’s desire. While The Boy Band asserts its masculinity through heteronormative lyrics, the playful boy-puppies heighten their sexual energy through their homoerotic play time, rough-housing and tickling each other for the audience’s pleasure. One Direction doesn’t dance, but they do grab one another, wrestle each other to the ground, and jump into dog piles.  With this play they infuse violence, however benign, into their act. Violence becomes part of their product, their production. The audience watches as these boys become men; their fighting and playing become sexual sweetness. This type of physical contact is simultaneously a display of masculine heteronormativity as seen in games like wrestling or football, and a deliberate act of homosensuality. The cult of personality surrounding these bands includes worshiping the members, these acts along with it. The premise of The Boy Band is an over-the-top display of heterosexuality that rests on the imagined homoerotic relationship between the boy members. This body of work uses the female gaze as a means to view the worship of fetishized masculinity. 

The paintings depict heteronormative boys caught in the homosensual act of wrestling as a sexually performative act of pseudo violence for the pleasure of others. Images are drawn from press interviews, concerts, magazines, youtube clips, photographs of boy bands like One Direction or CNCO, as well as historical physique pictorials from the 20th century.  The structure of the painting is made of hydrocal that has been lovingly slopped, plopped, pushed, and rubbed into the form of these sensual, violent acts. Like glimmering jewels, an ancient digital relic, the paintings create hard yet fluffy visual forms of the delectable bodies for consumption. Angled paint accentuates the forms of the hydrocal, changing colors in every angle from which it is viewed. The cardboard cut-out, longtime staple of the promotional event, serves as a stand in for a desired person, like a saintly relic at a shrine to be worshipped. Instead of flat cardboard cutouts of boys standing still, the paintings have become three-dimensional boys of motion: made in action, depicting action. As the boys become fetishized objects of desire and affection, they become less individual -- simply an abstract landscape of desire. They could be anyone, yet they are so particularly someone. As the girlish obsession manifests, it becomes more about a feeling of obsession than the boy object of obsession. They are delicious amorphous candy for projected desire. 

© 2020 Lauren Walkiewicz