Aftercare, 36x36 inches oil on stretched canvas by Kenney Mencher
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The title of this painting, "Aftercare," is designed to be suggestive. Often in some sexual encounters, especially those that involve BDSM, there is a recovery time in which the dominant person takes care of war shows affection to the submissive partner. Although the theme in this painting is not necessarily one of sadomasochism, I was thinking that these two men had engaged in a sexual encounter. Part of the story in my head when I design the painting was that these are two gay men who have been cruising and had a nearly anonymous sexual encounter in which there was no time for them to engage in any of the niceties of "aftercare."
These multiple figure paintings have been pretty popular and I feel like it’s somehow my chance to grow and improve my art into a more conceptual way. Although most of my work is about the beauty of the male figure painted as skillfully as I can, the anatomy, shading and textural qualities of the paint, I feel like I’m growing in terms of the subject matter by including more narrative or story telling elements in my art. These new paintings are meant to be a bit of a “thematic apperception test” called by shrinks the TAT. When I was in college, I learned about a psychological technique developed by American psychologist Murray at Harvard University during the 1930s. The idea for the TAT emerged from a question asked by one of Murray's undergraduate students who reported that when her son was ill, he spent the day making up stories about images in magazines and she asked Murray if pictures could be employed in a clinical setting to explore the underlying dynamics of personality. I thought this would be a great point of departure for people looking at art.
I'm trying to take my subject matter a more meaningful place step beyond what I've been doing in terms of my art, where I usually paint a single beautiful or interesting looking man. In this case I was thinking of two more mature men, possibly married, in a relationship to one another. 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 figure and trying to tell more of a story and excite the viewers' imaginations. I wanted to go beyond the single nude or seminude figure which at times can be pretty predictable as a format in homoerotic art.
One of the things that I am proud of about the more formal elements in this painting are the color combinations, Rendering of the anatomy, clothes, and the paint texture. This painting took several days to complete and I had done several preliminary studies for it including a small 12 x 12" oil that has already been collected by a gallery owner in Palm Springs. I built on the original smaller studies by layering the paint and increasing the thickness and gestural paint handling in this painting.
You will not need to frame this painting unless you want to because the canvas wraps around the edges and the stretcher bars are about an inch and a half thick. Please see the photos.
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