Billy Schenck’s Women
Strong females populate the work of artist Billy Scheck. They appear as both the seductress-amorous, intriguing, a desirable combination of allure and contempt, as well as the independent thinker, the female equivalent of the lone ranger. Flirtatious yet removed, they are informed of our gaze, secure in the knowledge of their own appeal. They are not “safe” in any definition of the word. In Schenck’s world, these women know how to defend themselves, in many instances, appearing in a dominant role rather than the traditional, more passive one of the damsel in distress. These women take agency into their own hands. Schenck often chooses to portray this through a physical manifestation of power - a revolver. A phallic symbol, they are a visual embodiment of the transfer of power. Through this portrayal, Schenck subverts and re-directs the narrative of standard Western mythology and our own presumptions.
Based on the visual evidence, these characters inhabit a world that is based on an amalgamation of Hollywood motifs and themes. The symbols and signs related to the Western genre such as hot-blooded cowboys galloping on horseback, a dusty, blood-orange sun setting on a desert landscape, are interspersed with details that point to the contemporary as well. Schenck’s signature style, which references the graphic elements of digital pixelation with the Ben-Day dot printing process of classic comic books and other print media, echoes the juxtaposition of the classic Western imagery with more contemporary allusions.
InScorpion III, a woman holding a two and a half barrel revolver stares out at us, her face shadowed under the brim of a cowboy hat, lips painted a deadly shade of red. With a subdued, monochrome background, and minimalist palette, it is visual cues such as her white aviators, ruffled, open blouse, and saucy attitude that inform our perception and help place her within a context. Both You Want What, as well asWild Card, present women that are equally multi-dimensional, in compositions laced with both humor and sass. Neither simply damsel nor fatale, they are modern women in charge of their own destiny, complex characters with full, inner lives.
Please join us for Bill'y upcoming solo exhibition at JoAnne Artman Gallery NYC - “Saddle Up” New Works by Billy Schenck Fall/Winter 2017 (November 14 - December 16) Artist’s Reception: Thursday, November 16th, 2017 from 6pm-8pm