"Hey Babe!" 2019
Acrylic, oil and gold flake on canvas
Following the Crypt gallery exhibition, Hey Babe! (2019) was a resolved and playful approach to the mirror, drawing on the psychological notion attributed to Narcissus. It was a chance event to create this work. In the summer of 2019, I received a selfie from a man on a dating app. There is an ethical question about painting this when the ownership of images gets ambiguous. Modern life is rife with the overly familiar sharing of intimacy, potentially crossing a line into intimidation within a society in which photographic narcissism is no everywhere. A remoteness can seemingly instigate thoughtless and endless sharing of these images, polluting the perception of the real identity. It is all too easy for the mundane reality to disappear in a vanishing world of the real. Undoubtedly, this vanishing selfie culture is the most common narcissistic representation in contemporary society. Hey Babe! I used the gold leaf to allude to Klimt's masterpiece The Kiss (1908) to juxtaposes the vulgarity of the original selfie: a man with a classical physique taking a photograph of himself in the mirror, trying to capture his manhood by showing off his semi-hard erection.
Within the painting, this scribbling across the face functions as a graffiti of sorts, suggests a kind of palimpsest and violent canceling out. I have used this approach before in the work I Still Care (2018). It also functions as a protective mechanism, concealing the identity of my protagonist. The work stands for my view of a contemporary cultural condition imbued with ambiguity, sexism, narcissist and ethical dilemmas.