In today’s world, it is not uncommon for masculinity to be placed on a spectrum, a label-less position on a gradient between two ends. This system allows individuals to establish their own identity, be it simple or complex. However, it is common for those extreme positions to be enforced upon an individual by those holding on to archetypes at either ends of this spectrum. Specific subsets of gay male cultures have rigorous ideals of body and beauty attained through strict diet and exercise and can be isolating for those who don’t measure up. In the sporting world, homophobia can be used to sublimate the physical intimacy between players, isolating some in a similar manner. In the digital era of endless and available information we can quickly forget and take for granted what growing up as a member of a closeted society can feel like. From this closeted place, cultural references from television characters and eroticized fiction can begin to distort perceptions and a new parafiction begins to take shape as a way to express oppressed desires.
Christopher Selleck’s artistic practice interrogates the stereotypes of masculinity and homosexuality in American culture, through photography, sculpture and installation. With images ranging from intimate, seductive, perfectly lit portraits, to pixelated snapshots appropriated from dated sports programming, we can see the extremities of identity become more apparent. Selleck’s work allows viewers to confront and challenge their own identity and personal history.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website