|Young Dudes, 18x18 inches |
oil on gallery wrapped stretched canvas
by Kenney Mencher $700
I was thinking about David Bowie's song "All the Young Dudes."
I'm hoping that the composition helps to tell a story but one that the viewer will work out for themselves. Perhaps in the same way that Bowie's song suggests a story but doesn't spell it out like a good poem does.
Well, Billy rapped all night about his suicide
How he'd kick it in the head when he was twenty-five
Speed jive, don't want to stay alive
When you're twenty-five
The almost split down the middle of the canvas that has the larger figure towards the viewer. He's in a pose almost out of some Egyptian art, his torso is presented to the viewer but head in profile. He's presenting his body but not engaging with the viewer, or with the other character. The other figure is also in an ambiguous pose. He's turned away from the smoking character adjusting his pants. Is he being modest? Is he taking his jeans off or putting them on? Are they roommates, friends or lovers?
I'm attempting to tell more of a story by including multiple figures in a more complex composition. I've been working with the idea of juxtaposing a clothed figure against a nude or semi-clothed figure in an attempt to tell more of a story and excite the viewers' imaginations. I was thinking about some of the wonderful paintings by Paul Cadmus in which he tells a story of a couple in a relationship. I wanted to go beyond the single nude or semi nude figure which at times can be pretty predictable as a format in homoerotic art.
The paint on this is also super thick as a way to create more visual and physical presence to the painting. The technique of applying thick layers of paint is called an "impasto" (sort of the Italian for paste.) I try to vary the textures to compliment or amplify the surfaces and planes I'm painting. So the face and arms on this painting were painted more with thick bristle brushes and the strokes are meant to be gestural or calligraphic. The background and the shirt are literally troweled on in areas. It took forever for this painting to dry because the paint is so thick.
This is painted on a stretched canvas with white 1 and half inch stretcher bars so you won't have to frame it if you like the edges the way they look.