pretty boys kill me

Solo exhibition, April 6 – 27, 2013
Gallery FUKAI
Vancouver, Canada

In pretty boys kill me, I address the subtle distinction between desire and obsession, with soft-featured young men serving as muse. Through my drawings, I continue to reference both public and personal histories.

Poster-sized drawings of many pretty boy faces, arranged in pattern, present an aesthetic ideal of beauty. Each face was meticulously drawn one at a time, only then were sections erased to reveal snippets from text messages sent and received during past romantic relationships. While formulaic repetition provides the drawings a mechanical tone, their subject, their dimensions, and the use of coloured-pencil are reminiscent of the lovesick teenager. A series of smaller portraits blend multiple faces to create monstrous amalgams – desire’s derangement of the senses. One gallery wall is covered with wallpaper I created that was inspired by Charles Dana Gibson’s ‘Design for Wallpaper – Suitable for a Bachelor Apartment’ (1902). Gibson’s satirical interpretation of romantic longing and female beauty is here replaced by an earnest look at male beauty as the object of affection.

Process and object are both important in this exhibition. At the outset, I was interested in whether my drawing capability and the quality of the work would suffer because of the intense repetition. The show’s ambiguous title, pretty boys kill me, gestures at the project’s and my own masochism. Having drawn about 300 faces, I injured my right hand and was unable to draw for several months. To be sure, pretty boys kill me speaks to the deleterious effect of obsessive desire. Love becomes an inoperable illness that cannot be removed without destroying the patient. The drawings touch equally, however, on the enabling aspect of obsession, its ability to focus the senses and intellect in pursuit of its object.

[Download PDF press release]