BEN YOUDAN “MASC – The Men of Los Angeles” | 16th February | TOM House

BEN YOUDAN (Briton, 1979-), Marc, 2019, Mixed media on canvas, 48″ X 36″

A series of six mixed media portraits has been created in the unique and inspiring atmosphere of TOM house and has been facilitated by having the opportunity to make incredible connections within the Leather community of Los Angeles. The work seeks to embody the message of freedom contained in Tom of Finland’s oeuvre and attempts to contextualise this in a contemporary way that is a direct response to a variety of external influences.

The work seeks to be an exuberant celebration of male beauty, the male form and its erotic nature, by exploring the archetype of the Leatherman and challenging preconceptions of masculinity. There is a visual subtext of sensuality contained within the works that attempt to promote a sex-positive attitude.

I feel this is important, as it has been created against a backdrop of troubling times. With the Internet being cleaned up, and the neoconservatives appearing to have a prevailing influence in our culture that flies in the face of societal progression made from the 1960s to the present day, I strongly believe artists should make a conscious decision to react against this and fight back. Queer art is a protest.

Youdan is a visual artist from Liverpool, U.K. His work employs a wide variety of techniques and processes including collage, painting, printmaking and photography, to create imagery that takes inspiration from the iconography and ephemera of popular culture as well as Queer identity. His elaborate pieces explore themes such as fetish, glamour, masculinity, and sexuality. They are a handmade product of the machine age, and a comment on the human condition in the context of the new media landscape.

The artist has been involved in a wide variety of creative endeavors throughout his career. Before beginning his artist residency at Tom of Finland Foundation in December 2018, he has had three solo shows in the U.K. and his work has been acquired by the Museum of Liverpool for their permanent collection. He has participated in the Homotopia arts festival, as well as the Liverpool Biennial, and Liverpool Pride. He also set up a successful pop-up shop that sold his work. In addition to this, his work has been featured on Madonna’s latest world tour and a wide variety of group shows in the United States and across Europe. This exhibition is his first solo show in North America.

Reception: 6-9p
On view through 26th February by appointment.

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