Orange Opening Details: Beecroft Art Gallery, Saturday 14 July, 2-4pm.
Having never fully understanding affection, I have always been interested by the means and lengths in which individuals seek it such as changing one’s body image whether physically with protein powder or by consuming anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass. The struggle for young men to combat loneliness in a social landscape that is romanticised by media is often eclipsed by the exploitation of consumerist imagery often resulting in tragic outcomes’ George Morl
‘Precious Boys’ is one of the first exhibitions in a ‘public gallery’ in the UK dedicated to solely exploring and assessing the vulnerabilities of young men, revealing how body image and sexuality are entwined with the masculine nature of performance with particular focus on Basildon and Southend. Portraits of men with eating disorders or who have been killed as a result of violence or steroid usage are painted in whey protein powder in a brutalist manor, portraying contorted and fragmented bodies. Juxtaposed with boxing or doll imagery and presented resting against walls on ceramic tiles their highly varnished surfaces and poetic engraved borders emulate war graves of soldiers. Other works include a series of sculptures coated in industrial paint. Resting on glistening crystals they become a visual physical contemporary nursery rhyme depicting a post-industrial landscape in which documents the plight of young men in remembrance of men who have taken their life. Installed in conversation with notes and materials from the artists’s therapy sessions, as well as objects from Southend Museums collection selected by the artist, this show has been designed as a process of investigation presenting the representation of men in history from nude male cherubs to academic studies examining how societal concepts of masculinity have manifested in both controlled consumeristic appearances and emotional parameters of men today. Ultimately, Precious Boys is a testament to the emotional stability of adolescent men and visual voice for our isolated and lonely young men presenting them as their vulnerable selves and providing a platform to relent.