BOYFRIEND - NEW WORK BY JO HAY

Deluca Gallery
432 Commercial St. Provincetown, MA 02657

 

September 4-18, 2016
Reception September 4

Jo Hay, 2015 Stallion, Oil on canvas 48x60"

The “Boyfriend” series consists of three paintings: ‘Stallion’, ‘Whiplash’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’. 
These paintings deal with gender identity and the question of how much visual information do I
need to introduce to add a feminine dynamic to a figure that appears overtly biologically male? 
After considering many complicated options of dress and background, the most successful
starting point seemed simply to add professionally applied eye makeup and false eyelashes and
set everything against a neutral background. From this starting point I learned that careful
manipulation of information around the eyes particularly influences a sense of male or female. 
More than any other symbol, long eyelashes instantly charges the subject with a distinct sense of
femaleness. 
 
In 'Stallion' I wanted the viewer to be overwhelmed by the larger-than-life masculine physique
before realizing the contrast of the more female eye makeup and lashes. In an effort to make this
happen, I took the feminized eyes to the furthest point at the top of the canvas presenting a strong neck and massive male pectoral anatomy throughout the rest of the canvas. In order to be sure the eyes were not overlooked I wanted my subject's gaze to be directly at the viewer. The subject also appears to be standing slightly above the viewer, a traditionally heroic vantage point. With this I was aiming to suggest his open, fearless pride in his blatant expression of both sexes. 
 
In 'Sleeping Beauty' I discovered that the eyes can play a major role in suggesting male or
femaleness. I was interested to see what would happen when the eyes were closed. It appeared
quickly that there was a sense of vulnerability and sensitivity to the character of the painting that is often attributed to women. Because of this I subdued the eye makeup to allow this tender
emotional quality to exist in relation to the masculine facial features and beard.