While others avert their eyes, we toast Michael Kirwan on his fantastic book…
When Beryl Cook died four years ago there was a rush to celebrate her life’s work. Cheerful obituaries sprung up in national newspapers and across major TV channels, she was a “national treasure”. Yet throughout her career the art world refused to acknowledge Cook as one of their own.
Despite selling pieces out of her front room for around £20,000 on a fortnightly basis and receiving commissions from celebrity collectors, with no formal art education and no desire to write thought-scraping self-statements, Cook’s amusing paintings of fat Brits and their quotidian pursuits were deemed appropriate only for postcards and calendars.
A similar thing is happening in the world of erotic art today. Look at Michael Kirwan’s latest book Just So Horny, a glossy paged serving of over 100 of Kirwan’s homocentric cartoony paintings. It is immediately obvious from just flicking through that he is a brilliant artist. The compositions, facial expressions, classical references and power dynamics. His work evokes a psychological landscape that goes beyond the explicit and into a new dimension of the suggestive.
By Jack Cullen