Man As Nature
Kevin Warth’s images of the nude human body are slightly subversive. The compositions are close-up, sectioning off portions of the form, and the lines are strong and graceful as we have come to expect in photography of women, but Warth’s subjects are men, and the surfaces are often covered by thick hair, suggestive of fertility and a particular male sexuality through the female gaze that is characteristic of an earlier period.
“By photographing the male form as landscape, I explore alternative masculinities and deconstruct the history of the nude,” explains Warth. “The male body becomes abstracted through framing, its flesh transforming into expansive fields and mountain ranges that reference early American landscape photography. In these images, masculinity is beautiful, serene, and the object of the gaze; this differentiates from other depictions of the male nude that focus on its strength and power. These bodies are monumental yet hidden, beautiful yet robust.”
Such upending of expectations fit nicely alongside the ideas about gender neutrality and fluidity that have emerged as a dominant theme in early 21st century culture and artistic expression. Art has always asked the viewer to open their mind to alternatives, and the ability to recognize those alternatives within our self. It is not always a comfortable conversation, and, in a time when sexism and misogyny struggle to remain somehow relevant, Warth’s unabashed embrace of hirsute masculinity can still seem a potent act of rebellion.
Currently, Warth has a solo exhibition at garner narrative contemporary through October 27, 2017 titled home sweet home.
Kevin Warth will be participating in the 2017 Open Studio Weekend, sponsored by Louisville Visual Art and University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute. His studio, located in the Clifton neighborhood, will be open the weekend of November 4 and 5. Tickets for Open Studio Weekend will go on sale October 16. Click here for more information.
Hometown: New Albany, Indiana
Education: BFA in Fine Art and a BA in Art History from the University of Louisville
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved
Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.