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Echoes of
The Perfect Moment
in Cincinnati 

 

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This exhibition was made possible with the assistance of 

Curator's Essay

It is many years ago now since the art world was transfixed by the arrest of a gallery curator for showing the work of Robert Mapplethorpe a year after his death. This marked out the new political right’s move of the culture wars into the art world. A world which prided itself on being avant-garde open and progressive. We were obviously a target. The Perfect Moment was exposed as it had received funding from the USA’s National Endowments for the Arts. There is a well made documentary that covers this called ‘Look at the Pictures’. The issue was that photographs of naked children were in the same exhibition as his Gay S&M photographs. Powerful people who called themselves conservatives could not consider that both could co-exist in the same space. That someone who was sexual could not relate to the innocence of childhood it had to be sexualised. One wonders if they ever connected that children are the result of sexual acts? In 2017 the AGNSW presented The Perfect Medium without incident. Perhaps the Mapplethorpe foundation has now done the hard yards and Mapplethorpe has come out of his difficult adolescence with a feature documentary and a biopic. Perhaps we have seen his work often enough to give him a pass. Yet with the culture wars, the political right have substituted outrage for policy, as it is a hard sell to convince enough voters to give more wealth to those with resources over those without. Instead they have created a narrative of grievance and permission to feel superior to (insert demographic). Separately the photography of children has become more problematic since 1990 as a society has less children and fears that any representation is sexual. We now have law in place in Victoria where by the depiction of flaccid male genitalia can not be shown to under 16 year olds. This results in a rather farcical situation where the Victorian Pride Centre can not feature such. As a society are we saying to under 16s that a penis is so, disturbing, disgusting and detrimental to their well being. that we can not men anatomically correct? Why do we treat our young with such contempt ? They can easily access porn. Another example of the exporting of USA culture of guns and violence and abhorrence to sex. Brian Sergio "I am simply taking pictures of what I experience in my day-to-day life." "I’m drawn to this kind of content. It’s not shocking to me because these are the things I see and live by every day. As for the use of high contrast black and white processing that’s my choice of aesthetic. It also helps because of my colour blindness. I like images that pop out, and colour is getting in the way of my vision." "To be honest, there are no intentions behind it. All I know is it discusses topics such as inflicting pain as a form of religious penitence to repent their sins and making them feel fulfilled by the end of the day. It reflects a topic about bondage and S&M on how they use pain for pleasure. They have the same methods but contradicting ideologies yet somehow, religion and sex meet at the end. No matter how different they seem, they all boil down to achieving human desires." "I see my books as a public invitation to my life’s existence outside of the public’s idea of the norm. My intentions are to show people my world and to understand how Filipino subcultures and traditions are more related as to how they seem." From: https://www.discardedmagazine.com/portfolio/brian-sergio-on-sex-religion-and-the-everyday/ These thoughts about the controversy flooded over me when I saw the work of Brian Sergio. His life in Manila is unlike Australian middle class. He is confronted with the outcomes of a country dominated by the Catholic Church, where women have little control over fertility, no sex education, where confession allows any sin to be wiped clean, where this leads to poverty, political corruption and a strong oligarchy. Brian’s work captures the gritty reality, of poverty and its outcomes; street kids, lovers, sex as entertainment, extremes of religious practice. This body of work is from the much derided ‘male gaze’ but that of a ‘colonized’ photographer, in grainy monochrome that steps on from the Japanese Provoke movement that started in the late 1960s. My first hand experience of living in Manila, informs me of the work’s authenticity. Manila is not politically correct, it does not conform with our sensitivities, his work should be assumed to have a trigger warning, lying on or just under the surface, is unwanted interactions. I remember one newspaper having a section for the court reporter to record some of the more absurd The one that always come to mind is an assistant pastor facing court charged with carnal knowledge of two minors, who were sisters, resulting in both becoming with child. The kickers was the father was the senior pastor of the same church. One wonders at why the assistant pastor thought this was a good idea. I believe instead of looking and legislating unpleasantness, artist have an obligation to ethically make us aware. Arthur Tress "Time makes ruins. The camera helps organize the chaos." "I find that my best photographs are metaphorical or allegorical and the more interpretations and feelings that people can bring to them, the better. I’m always very pleased with that. That’s why my photos are purposely ambiguous." Philip Gefner points out that the struggle for acceptance of photography as a legitimate art form parallels that of homosexuality. This should be no surprise as many holding positions of power were themselves gay but living double lives, even married. Mapplethorpe was ambitious and tactical, he sort out influential gay men to further his career, others did not. The fame an artist achieves is not just related to his/her work, it is also linked to whether the gatekeepers (and which gatekeepers) support them. Artists Stanley Stellar, Peter Hujar, Duane Michaels and Arthur Tress shared the same city, time and culture each took different approaches to photography and art. Tress born in Brooklyn where he grew up with a fascination with war, the local museum and photography. Studying at the Bard College in Fine Arts and choosing the films to be screened on Saturday night. He briefly studied film in Paris. This knowledge brings context to understanding his work, he makes images that seem parts of larger narratives that do not have context or dialogue, so much is open to the viewer. After this he traveled for several years visiting Japan, the Arctic, tibet, where he photographed rituals and this moved his thinking of culture and life. Tress moved away from documentary to a more playful yet theoretical approach. His project of recreating children’s dreams and more surrealistic photographs of men being particularly notable. Like HCB his take on surrealism is one that could almost exist in real world. These constructed images started from different points, from childhood dreams, from sexual fantasies that learnt into various fetishes to shadows. He had a approach that marked him as different and, fresh. In one interview he ponders if many of male nudes have echoes of his adolescent frustrations and longing. The six prints exhibited were made to publicise Men Between Themselves: Images of Male Self Sexuality at Robert Samuels in the early 80s. This body of work dates from 1977 to 1981. They are exquisite darkroom prints of the highest quality on fibre based paper. garrie maguire maguire became interested in photography at school in the early 1980s. He thought it was a quicker way of bringing his thoughts to life then painting, printing or other media. Oddly he learnt how to print in the darkroom while in theological college, he got into the Sydney Technical College course to train as a commercial photographer. From there he continued his obsession with photography. He states that his three main influences as Arnold Newman , Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Mapplethorpe. Newman for large format and the relationship of context to portrait, HBC for composition and the importance of timing, and Mapplethorpe’s need for beauty and giving him permission to combine whom/what he desired as the subjects of his work. Mapplethorpe’s work of the male form of his desire is somewhat problematic, as he is open to accusations of fetishisation of his subjects. Maguire Realising the difference between his sexual desire for average looking, bookish, fairly hairless males and that which the media presents as desirable Maguire decided to broaden the base rather than just present those he was drawn too. From the early 1990s he has produced bodies of work which poses questions to the viewers to attempt disrupt the power of the hegemonic masculinity of our culture. This project continues this practice. Having photographed over 150 males being with a chair in ways that the sitter instigated, he now allows one viewer, the curator, to choose who the other viewers, the gallery visitors, see. This is the first outing of male//chair and is curated by Dr Lisa Anderson. Final Word This show also displays an original poster from the said Mapplethorpe exhibition. What links these three artists more then a curator’s linking them as echoes, is that they like Mapplethorpe, is they have perspectives on masculinity, the Tress’ fantasies delving into the psyche, Sergio’s depiction of the realities of Manila through a heterosexual male gaze and maguire who allows males to present themselves to viewers consideration.

Brian Sergio

Brian Sergio :: Bio

 

Brian Sergio (Filipino, b.1980) is a Photographer, Painter, and Graphic Designer. He studied painting at the

University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts in 2002. Trained as a painter and a conceptual artist, he had a number local group exhibitions between 2000 to 2008 and worked as a Graphic Designer and Art Director advertising agencies, before deciding to focus on Photography full-time. His solo exhibitions as a photographer includes ‘Pak!’ (2014) at Galerie Astra, in Makati and ‘Kidultery’ (2011) at West Gallery in Quezon City, Philippines.

 

Sergio’s work has often been described as raw, transgressive, and irreverent. His method has always been about energy and movement; taking a gamble,getting involved, and going with the flow without diffidence.

He released his 1st book called “Pak” (2017) published by Dienacht Publishing (DE). Then followed by

“A Bastard Son” (2019) published by Zen Foto Gallery (JP).

 

His latest release “Dios Mio” (2021) is raw, passionate, direct, honest without a bit of compromise to be softer to please the viewer, without turning away from any detail of the life that is genuinely enjoyed and fully lived through the way it is, however unconventional it might seem.This book was also published by Dienacht Publishing.

 

Brian Sergio currently lives and works in Manila, Philippines

Brian Sergio :: Curriculum Vitae

b-surge.com     briancsergio@gmail.com b-surge.com

 

Selected Exhibitions Solo:

Bric A Brac: A Painting Show: Giant Dwarf Art Space, Rizal Philippines 2024

Angono Bound: Giant Dwarf Art Space, Rizal Philippines 2020

Pak!: Galerie Astra, Makati Philippines 2014

Kidultery: West Gallery, Quezon City Philippines 2011

Crapola: Pablo Gallery, Quezon City Philippines 2010

Enjoy Everyday Paintings: Blossom Entertainment (now abandoned), Quezon City Philippines 2003

Two Jars of Cookies: Installation, UP Interior Design exhibition at Unimart Manila Philippines 2000

Selected Exhibitions Group:

Orient Expres: Centro Internacional de Fotografia Cine, Madrid Spain 2018

Post-Repost-Share: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Bangkok Thailand 2018

Mumbling Lessons, Group Show: Prose Gallery, Makati Philippines 2010

Quiet Tantrums: Mag:net Gallery,Makati Philippines 2008

Shoot Me: Photographs Now: Mos Design, Taguig Philippines 2007

Cancelled Metaphors: The Art Center, SM Megamall A, Mandaluyong Philippines 2004

Picture This: The Art Center, SM Megamall A, Mandaluyong Philippines 2003 

The First Public Workshow: The Vargas Museum, Quezon City Philippines 2002

Education:

CFA Painting: University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts 1997– 2002

 

Books published:

Dios Mio: Dienacht Publishing 2021

Flash: Edition Bessard 2021

A Bastard Son: Zen Foto Gallery 2019

Pak!: Dienacht Publishing 2017

 

Collections:

Imago Mundi Collection: Treviso, Italy

Arthur Tress

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Arthur Tress :: Bio

 

Arthur Tress began his first camera work as a teenager in the surreal neighborhood of Coney Island where he spent hours exploring the decaying amusement parks. Later, during five years of world travel, mostly in Asia and Africa, he developed an interest in ethnographical photography that eventually led him to his first professional assignment as a U.S. government photographer recording the endangered folk cultures of Appalachia. Seeing the destructive results of corporate resource extraction, Tress began to use his camera to raise environmental awareness about the economic and human costs of pollution. Focusing on New York City, he began to photograph the neglected fringes of the urban waterfront with a straight documentary approach. This gradually evolved into a more personal mode of “magic realism” combining improvised elements of actual life with stage fantasy that became his hallmark style of directorial fabrication. In the late 1960s Tress was inspired to do a series based upon children’s dreams that combined his interests in ritual ceremony, Jungian archetypes, and social allegory. Later bodies of work dealing with the hidden dramas of adult relationships and the reenactments of male homosexual desire evolved from this primarily theatrical approach.

 

Beginning in the early 1980s, Tress began shooting in color, creating room-sized painted sculptural installations out of found medical equipment in an abandoned hospital on New York’s Welfare Island. This led to a smaller scale exploration of narrative still life within a children’s toy theater and a portable nineteenth-century aquarium.

 

Around 2002, Tress returned to gelatin silver, exploring more formalist themes in the style of mid- century modernism, often combining a spontaneous shooting style with a constructivist’s sense of architectural composition and abstract shape. In addition to images of California skateboard parks, his recent work includes the round images of the series Planets and the diamond-shaped images of Pointers.

 

Source: www.arthurtress.com

 

Arthur Tress lives and works in San Francisco 

Arthur Tress :: curriculum vitae

arthurtress.com     

 

Selected Exhibitions Solo:

Arthur Tress: Rambles, Dreams, and ShadowsThe Getty Center, Los Angeles 2024

Arthur Tress | The Tip of the IcebergStephen Bulger Gallery,    Toronto     Canada    2022

Arthur Tress VintageCLAMP, New York 2006

Arthur Tress: The Wurlitzer TrilogyCenter for Creative Photography, Tuson 2002

 

Selected Exhibitions Group:

In black & white: new display of the collections: Musée Réattu, Arles, France 2024

Moves Like Walter: New Curators Open the Corcoran Legacy Collection: American University Museum, Washington DC 2019

Forever Coney: Photographs from the Brooklyn Museum Collection: Brooklyn Museum of Art      Brooklyn, 2016

Private Collections Exposed: Center for Photographic Art, Carmel 2014

Duane Michals / Arthur Tress / Juliette Bates: Fictions: Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris France 2014

Reality Revisited: Moderna Museet, Stockholm Sweden 2009

Dream/Reality/Dream:Museum of Modern Art, New York 1977

Selected Collections:

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York

Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois

Museum of Fine Arts,    Houston, Texas

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California

Whitney Museum of Art, New York

in the director's space

garrie maguire

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garrie maguire :: Curriculum Vitae

www.garrie.xyz    g@garriemaguire.com      0435470427    

 

Selected Exhibitions, Solo:

male//chairVictorian Pride Centre/XYZ Photo Gallery    Melbourne    2024 

Indefinite Immigration Detention @ Queertography: World Pride Art Festival    Sydney    2023 

Indefinite Immigration Detention: Head On Photo Festival    Sydney    2022

Seeking New Gold Mountain: The incinerator Gallery    Melbourne    2020 

Jump: Red, Caochangdi Photo Spring    Beijing    2012
(The project for my MA): Federation Square Atrium    Melbourne    2011
The Gaze: Fetish Shop Front    Melbourne    2008    (Commissioned by Midsumma Festival)

God+Warriors: Anderson’s Mill    Smeaton    2007  (as Given a Sporting Stance)    (Daylesford Foto Biennale)

        Gallery H at Eat Me Art Restaurant     Bangkok    2005

        Espacio Meteora    Seville     2004

        Olympic Aquatic Centre    Homebush    2002 (Commissioned by GayGames Arts)

Re-Pat: Esplanade     Singapore    2004 (Commissioned by Esplanade) 

Shadows of Angkor: Global Gallery    Paddington    2001 

        Whitlam Library    Cabaramatta    2001

Angkor: Liverpool Regional Museum    Sydney     2000 

toHave + toHold: Powerhouse Art Centre    Brisbane    2001

        Moving Image Centre    Auckland    2001

        Festival Centre Artspace    Adelaide     2000

        Global Gallery    Paddington     2000 

 

Selected Exhibitions, Group

Iris Portrait Award: Perth Centre of Photography    Perth    2021

Memory Wall: Red Gate Gallery    Beijing    2021

Semi Finalist - Head On portrait Prize: Sydney Town Hall     Sydney    2021, 19, 16
Get Out and Do Something: Sandbox Gallery     Melbourne    2019

Olive Cotton Portrait Prize: Tweed Regional Gallery     Murwillumbah    2019
Odyssey - Australian Photographers in China: Dali Contemporary Art Space    Dali, China    2018
       Changjiang Museum of Contemporary Art    Chongqing, China    2018

Company of Men: Tacit Galleries     Melbourne    2018

Finalist - William & Winifred Bowness Photography Prize: Monash Art Gallery    Melbourne    2013, 06

Love and War: The Kinsey Institute Gallery    Indiana    2012
Fog, Fire, Virility (a single night projection) : Three Shadows Photographic Arts Centre    Beijing     2011
Premium Red: BeiGao    Beijing     2011

Ce cul n’est pas un cul: (an exhibition in 5 parts)

(part 2) una mostra di grandi fotografi: The Marble Palace    Carrara    2006  (Festival d’arte Sensibilmente Eros)

Electro Plastic: Horse Bazaar    Melbourne    2006

Artists Against Sedition Laws Exhibition Of Protest: Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre    Sydney     2005

Members Show: 4A Gallery     Sydney     2005

Re-identifications: The Australian Centre Of Photography     Sydney      2002

Photography From Australia And New Zealand: The Australian Consulate General    NYC    2002

Edges, Gay And Lesbian Lives In Western Sydney: Liverpool Regional Museum    Sydney    2001 (Commissioned by Casula Powerhouse)
Josephine Ulrick Photographic Prize: Tweed River Regional Art Gallery    Murwillumbah    2000

Annual Gay & Lesbian Photo Show: Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation    NYC    2000, 1998

Fractured Fairytales: Hester Gallery    Newtown     1997
Works On Paper: Barry Stern Gallery    Paddington    1996 

Curation

XYZ Photo Gallery: In house curator    Melbourne    2022-

Get out and do something: Sandbox Gallery     12 local photographers and videographers    Melbourne    2019

China : Chinese: Red Gate Gallery     inc. Liu Qinghe, Tan Ping & Guan Wei    Beijing    2013

Men Like Me: Off the Kerb     inc. William Yang & Michael Shaowanasai    Melbourne    2008

Kiss/Cut: Gertrude Street Gallery    Royston Tan & Alex Au    Melbourne     2008

 

Collections

Three Shadows Photographic Arts Centre: Beijing

Kinsey Institute: USA

National Library Of Australia: Canberra

Casula Powerhouse: Sydney

Private Collections: In Australia, USA, UK, France, Japan, Spain, Singapore and China 

Publications

The People’s Pictorial: Interview for China : Chinese    Beijing    Mar 2013

TimeOut Beijing: Interview for China : Chinese    Beijing    Feb 2013

Learning Another Way: An Attempt To Expand The “Given-To-Be-Seen” Of Masculinity In Australia: self published    Master’s exegesis and practice in context    Australia      2011

Gods+Warriors: self published    Exhibition Catalogue/book     Australia     2009

toHave + toHold: self published    Exhibition Catalogue/book     Australia    2000

Sx Weekly: Interview G+W & Re-identifications    Australia     Nov 2002

Sydney Morning Herald: Review Of Re-identification     Australia     23 Oct 2002

Courier Mail - Bam Supplement: Interview & Review Of toHave + toHold    Australia     23 Jun 2001

Sydney Morning Herald: Review Of toHave + toHold    Australia     29 Feb 2000
Blue Issue 28: Artical by Anna Broinowski    Gallery Of Some Other Men  Pt1,     Australia     2001

Sydney Star Observer, The Edge: Feature On The Artist    Australia     17 Sept 1998

Lectures and Talks

Queer stories: Artist Panel Queertography World Pride    Sydney    2023

Stories that Stir: Self-Reflection: Artist Panel HeadOn Festivals    Sydney    2022

The incinerator Gallery: Artist Interview    Melbourne    2021

michaels camera video digital: Thursday seminar    Melbourne    2019

Eastern International Art College: Guest Lecture to 280 students    Zhengzhou    2013

The Bookworm: Six artists introduce their work    Beijing     2013
Off The Kerb: Curator’s floor talk on “Men Like Me”     Melbourne    2008
Deakin University: Lecture 1st year Photo-Media class    Melbourne     2008

RMIT - King Power Conference: Paper Do Asian Men Live in Aus or Oz?    Melbourne    2007

Sydney College of the Arts: Artist talk 3rd year Photo-Media class    Sydney    2005

Australian Centre of Photography: Floor talk for Re-identifications    Sydney    2002

Residencies

Three Shadows Arts Centre: 13 weeks    Beijing     2011
Red Gate Gallery: 5 weeks    Beijing     2011

garrie maguire :: Bio

 

Garrie Maguire gets about, driven by various insecurities, ADHD and a sense of adventure. He has extended time in countries once referred to as first, second and third world. He has lived in a regional city, a tourist area, a farming community and various big cities. Making a home in houses, lofts, apartments, a caravan park and immigration detention centre. Born working class he moved to middle class, even mixing in professional classes as a doctor’s wife. His formal education is in photography, graphic design, gender studies, sociology and theology. His work experience includes, making septic tanks, a clerical assistant in the public service, retail, university lecturer, TV actor, project manager, gallery assistant and freelance design and photography. He has worked for clients as diverse as the Chinese Communist Party, Northrup Grumman and Troughman. Each of these experiences built a picture of how masculinity is performed in various cultures and subcultures. 

 

Despite his best efforts he failed at heterosexuality. Try as he might, he also failed to conform to the expected hegemonic and heteronormative masculinity, he remained “soft” and “artistic”. This lead to the fundamental question his photo-media practice explores, what, who and why is a male and/or man. His work has been an investigation of competing masculinities and how societies promote particular expressions and aesthetics over others and how this dictates who is considered desirable and acceptable. This is a somewhat natural response to finding out that those he desired most were considered undesirable.

 

He arrived back in Melbourne in 2017 to continue his art practice, thus the male//chair project. This project reached out to any man who volunteered and we could find a mutually convenient time to make images, this resulted in a diverse set of men. The project allows them agency in how they are presented to the audience. This time the project has a built in vulnerability, there were to be no signifiers of masculinity, no clothes, watches or any jewelery. For this reason there are no names attached to any of the portraits. In doing this the sitter has the control over how much information the viewer has and limits the way the viewer can respond to the sitter’s image. 

 

Masculinity is a contested space, where expressions of hegemony are under constant attack. This project is about allowing the sitter to disrupt and present something of their own personality and approach to being a male, as the artist has.

 

garrie maguire lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.

These images are an annex to the Victorian Pride Centre show male//chair

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