Jan 29, 2016 – Mar 19, 2016
In Andrew Moncrief’s A Strange Feeling, the artist appropriates images of male wrestlers to unravel dichotomies of violence and intimacy, stoicism and submission, tolerance and taboo. Rendered in thick layers of oil paint, Moncrief’s striking figures evoke tensions between classical representations of the ideal form and contemporary understandings of the gendered body.
Known for his large-scale figurative paintings, Moncrief sets the tone for his ardent imagery by using elements of baroque art such as dramatic movement, intense emotion, and ornate composition. Yet, the artist also relies on grittier techniques to bring a sense of rawness and mystery to his works. Using a subdued palette of gray, blue, and pink, Moncrief’s wide and often erratic brushstrokes heighten the antagonism between classical figuration and experimental representation. This tension is further evident in this body of work, A Strange Feeling, in which Moncrief conflates traditional notions of the male athlete and intimate expressions of identity.
By mimicking wrestling moves as a point of departure, Moncrief visualizes the incongruity of sportsmanship and sexuality in his paintings. Moncrief’s representations of masculinity and affection disrupt normative discourse of gender and identity, posing questions of how the physicality of “maleness” can simultaneously enforce and fracture social regulations placed upon the body. By exploring the limitations of anachronistic ideals, Moncrief’s laden portrayals of tangled poses and aggressive movements awaken internalized ideas and attitudes about how we relate to one another as body-selves.
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