Boy's Life

Reckitt, Helena. 2007. Boy's Life. In: Nigel Prince, ed. Stephen Shearer. Birmingham, UK, and Toronto, Canada: Ikon and The Power Plant. ISBN 978-1-90486432-5 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Written to accompany a solo exhibitions by Steven Shearer at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, UK, and The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada, the essay discusses how Shearer depicts and appropriates culturally-degraded visual and musical forms in order to highlight social privilege and to recognise resistant expressive forms associated with working class masculinity.

Reckitt highlights the artist’s engagement with heavy metal culture and its emphasis on male bonding. With its iconography of fantasy, witchcraft, and courtly love, and its flamboyant, androgynous dress codes, heavy metal offers a refuge from the disappointments of everyday life. Teasing out the humour and self-parody of Shearer's approach, Reckitt discusses his use of appropriation tactics, which he fuses with the aesthetics of auto-didacticism. She notes that when reproducing material from the internet - which he treats as a collective archive as well as a social mirror - Shearer does not correct irregularities in image production, but retains details such as irregular colour, imprecise focus, and the computer screen’s glare.

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Book Section

Additional Information:

The catalogue includes colour illustrations of Shearer's range of production – from posters to paintings, sculpture to text poems, ballpoint drawings to vast collected imagery. Other essays by curator Nigel Prince and art critic Nancy Tousley contextualize Shearer’s expansive range of production, which is drawn from material that he collects in his extensive image bank or archive. Comprising some 36,000 JPEGs, clippings, Xeroxes, reproductions, and found snapshots, the archive is organized into eccentric categories such as1970's teen idols, Black/Death Metal bands and children's play structures.

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14 August 2007Published

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Date Deposited:

04 Apr 2017 10:21

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:25


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