You could be forgiven for concluding the work by New Zealand Born David Masters was simply graphic representations of gay male sexual exploits or elaborate studies of fetishisation. To come to this reductive position is undoubtedly valid, as a large percentage of works do visualise these perceptions, which is something Townsend doesn’t shy away from. The expertly executed homoerotic paintings and drawings are beautiful and provocative in equal measures, showing no restraint in their depiction and visual narrative – however these depictions are not merely an obsessive objectification of the acts and the apparatus associated with such inclinations – the ‘nude’ in art has invariably explored how we manifest and construct ourselves for consumption and has equally examined the mechanisms of this objectification – fetishising the passive surface.
The visualisation of the naked form, passively or in feats of passion have been a reoccurring feature in the documentary of the human form and the desire and fervor of the subject and the viewer. The nudity in classical Greek sculpture was referred to by leading classicist Ian Jenkins as symbolizing;
“the mark of a hero. It was not about representing the literal world, but a world which was mythologised. Their nudity was part of a disassociation from the reality of war. It’s an entirely different aesthetic world.”
In Townsends assembly of drawings and paintings the parallel is equivalent. The overtly hypersexual imagery disseminates the object from the reality of everyday life and contributes to the conversation about mythologised objectification, which has been an increasing dialogue in and around contemporary art and culture.
The intimacy of the skilfully crafted drawings and paintings by David Masters Townsend are a narrative on our cultural and geographic position, the correlation between vanity, delusion, desire and objectification. They are also very rousing.
PLEASE NOTE: Works of a sexually explicit nature shown below.