In Bonnie Lane’s rst solo exhibition with the gallery Liquid Candy, the artist subverts heteronormative conventions of representation and objecti cation, by replacing the more familiar and socially acceptable sexualized bodies of women with those of men.
In this series of intricately detailed beaded paintings objectifying male solo masturbation through the female lens, Lane draws attention both to the absence of the female gaze in contemporary pornography, as well as the missing representation of the male body as an object of sexual desire in art history.
The artist directs the attention solely to the male body as a sexual object from which to derive visual pleasure in an act of reversal that ips the gendered gaze by removing the female body from the narrative all together.
Each bead acts as a tangible manifestation of the individual digital pixels that make up the original source images from which these anonymous portraits have been constructed.
Where Lane is more commonly known for her semi-autobiographical performance, video, and social intervention projects that expose private digital and physical exchanges from her personal life, and in which the presence of her physical body is crucial, this occasion marks a signi cant shift in focus.
In Liquid Candy the artist reclaims her female desire for the male body through her appropriation and careful curation of a series of “her favorite” images found on ‘jerk-off” websites, where cropped and headless self-portraits are uploaded for public consumption, revealing the inherent human desire to expose oneself and to be “wanted”.
Unlike the majority of her recent projects, the artist has had no personal connection or prior history with any of the male subject’s depicted in this exhibition and has made no attempt to personally engage with them. The subject’s are not aware of the artist’s existence and have never seen her image, she continues to remain as anonymous to the these faceless bodies as they do to the audience of these voyeuristic paintings. Removing this element of personal narrative centres the focus entirely on the body as image. The body as object.
The artist is not the intended audience of the original source images. They have not been imposed upon her and sent as unsolicited dick pics as she has dealt with in previous projects. And they are more likely not intended for the heterosexual female audience at all. Each image shows only the solo experience of the male subject caught in a moment of private pleasure, removing the element of aggression and sexual dominance that
is so frequently in icted upon the female body by her male counterparts in popular contemporary heterosexual pornography.
Constructed using traditionally feminine “craft” materials, the artist asserts herself in a position of power through the representation of these unidentifable bodies, devoid of any relation to the image of her own female body.