Friday, 13 November 2009

NOUVEAU NUDE, The Male Nude Now

   This exhibition seeks to celebrate and explore the male nude, celebrating those who examine, muse and obsess over this controversial subject.

Exhibiting work from a new generation of home grown and international artists: from Paris duo Exterface intensely stylized nude narratives to Canada’s Mikel Marton, who’s male nude portraits are winning critical acclaim across America and around the world.
Alongside photography, mixed media work and 3D installation will be covers from ground breaking Butt magazine and fanzines including New York’s PinUps and Spunk.  Aiding the review of the Male Nude’s place in a commercial and subcultural context.

Male nudity has always been more subversive than it’s female counterpart, falling in and out of popularity through out art history, but always celebrated and developed by the gay and erotic arts.

The ‘gaze’ has shifted from being predominantly on women to men in fashion, film and advertising, and within the last decade the increasing trend for homo eroticism and full frontal male nudity begs the question, what is the place of the male nude in contemporary society? And will it ever develop and evolve into being as common place as a pair of breasts in a newspaper?

As it takes more and more to shock us, what now is the reaction towards the male nude,
and can the more untraditional images and growing trend for alternative visions of beauty be viewed in their own right with out being labelled homo erotic, classicist or pornographic.

 (c) curation and text by Alex Noble

Origami lilly wreath made from the pages of gay Fanzines
Alex Noble + Sarah Hue

Fanzines have existed almost as long as magazines, creating an alternative to the consumerist and commercial interests. Breaking away from the main stream they are publications for sub cultural interests, spanning the worlds of art, music, fashion and fetish. Their most modern evolution and counterpart would be the ‘blog’, where the evidence of this format is most evidently popular and in demand. But unlike a blog they seem to hold something far more sacred, seen by the dedication that is put into the production of the Fanzine.
Often self funded they offer an alternative to the mass produced glossies, they are the voice of the people, the real bible of our time, a new testament for the real world, not just text and images dictated by commerce and trend that are kept afloat by advertising. The publications used for this piece of work celebrate alternative images of male beauty, homosexuality and creative passion.

SPUNK [ARTS] Magazine
Founded by Aaron Tilford in New York, Spunk offers an opportunity for artists to share their work with a wider audience. It is also a forum for artists and art fans to write from their own passions and experiences about different facets of the arts (drawing, painting, film, photography, literature, music, fashion, etc.). The articles either lean toward obscure subject matters or offer fresh perspectives on familiar ones. There is no emphasis placed on 'the new.' Spunk is about new art and new perspectives.
BUTT Magazine
BUTT is a pocket-size, quarterly magazine for out and about homosexuals, founded in 2001, published and printed in The Netherlands, available world-wide.
Butt magazine has reached cult status in alternative gay culture,it has built an individual and irresistible identity through featuring submitted stories, photographs and interviews. It is a finely edited representation of a real and non stereo typical side of gay culture.
PINUPS Magazine
Pinups is a triannual publication from New York, curated by Christopher Schultz. It features one male nude pictorial per issue. There are no words - just an exaggeration of the classic centrefold. Each magazine exists in a book form but can also be taken apart and tiled together to create a large poster image of that issues centre fold.

FLIT Magazine
‘You’ll want to hide Flit from your parents, but share it with your friends. When a person looks at Flit, we want it to feel like he is looking at a friend’s secret scrap book. It feels comfortable because it’s a friend’s creation; but it may also be surprising; a person may even be taken aback by what he discovers within.
Flit should be welcoming, not pretentious. It isn’t perfect, but it is personal and real’

Ceramic, glass, wood

“ The personality traits of a man are determined by reading the bumps and fissures in the penis. Based on the concept that the penis is the organ of the male mind and that certain penile areas have localised specific functions or modules. The mind has a set of different mental faculties, with each particular faculty represented in a different area of the penis. “
Installation artist, Emma Gibson, deals with intimate psychological themes using explicitly materialistic techniques, giving rise to a physical and mental space that quietly pulls apart everyday notions of self and society. Gibson’s incredibly rich installation work is built from layer upon layer of common social signifiers, periodically interrupted by the sentimental, the horrific or the otherwise wholly peculiar. These elements eerily function together to lure the viewer into an initial sense of familiarity that gets quickly turned in on itself, throwing up questions of sanity, identity, morality and the self.  Gibson’s inquisitive and obsessive works have an incredible attention to detail and a pretext of intense thought and research. This is somehow driven through by the small scale she often works too. With such minute activity they seem similar to the workings of a brain. There is a before, a middle and an after with Emma’s work which often brings with it a surreal sense of humour.

Ed Relph
Elizabeth Eamer

Alex Noble


The decision was made to represent the main body of photography in the style of bill boards to play on the concepts from the theme of the exhibition. The ‘gaze’ has shifted from being predominantly on women to men in fashion, film and advertising, and within the last decade the increasing trend for homo eroticism and full frontal male nudity begs the question, what is the place of the male nude in contemporary society? And will it ever develop and evolve into being as common place as a pair of breasts in a newspaper? This representation is also a nod to the Pop art of the 1970’s, where advertising, collage and every day objects were utilised to create iconic works of art. Advertising inspired art as art now inspires advertising. As well as great works of art could these images be adverts for commercial brands? The shrewd world of marketing targets and uses different cultural groups for commercial gain and homo eroticism is one of the leading themes in the fashion  market.Would you now be shocked to be confronted with one of these images on the street or at a bus stop? They are already in the magazines...

‘UNTITLED’ (2009)
(Price upon request at
Canadian photographer Mikel Marton is heralded as one of the most promising faces in male photography. A heavily published commercial and artistic photographer he is represented by the Envoy gallery in New York. Mikel’s work is a modern interpretation of retro and classical male nude portraiture and a sensitive response to the male form. Whether it be a stylized costume piece or an explicit self portrait, his work is always honed in by an intellectual aesthetic and subtle eroticism. He is courageous in his sexually charged self portraits, baring his soul and body for all to see, and in the studies of his subjects he captures a strength and fragility, playing on themes of homo eroticism, mythology and masculinity.                                      

(Price upon request at
Based in Paris, Exterface are French artists Julien and Stephane. Combining bold artistic concepts with carefully selected  models, they produce a diverse collection of imagery which feel like poetic glimpses into the psyches of the powerful, masculine and homo erotic characters they create.
Each series of work is produced as a fresco, telling a heavily stylized story set against back drops of saturated light or comic strip rain storms, always featuring a beautiful model in various states of undress. Narrative is important to Exterface and is pushed through by their dual careers as scenario writers and painters, their work has been featured in leading  publications and they are fast becoming icons of the gay art scene.


‘MASK’ (2009)
(Price upon request at

Fine Artist Moses Powers was born and lives in London,he studied fine art and the London Metropolitan University where he gained representation by Degree Art, winning a number of awards and having his work published.
 He works in the realms of photography and installation, often building elaborate theatrical sets for his images. His work explores themes of memory, schemers, the symbolism of objects and the human psyche. Influenced by mythology and religion he builds surreal and absurd environments for fictional subjects, creating new narratives and images of anachronistic icons.

‘CLIMAX A’ (2009)
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Matthew Brindle is an internationally published photographer, designer and artist based in London, UK. Represented by ‘Rise’ gallery in Berlin.
“the flash pops. and i see you. struck by lightning. bare. brutal naked."Matthew’s work captures the mood of a generation and subculture, his recent exhibition ‘Skull Boy’ focussed on the many personas Matthew gave himself in public domains growing up in the london club scene, this personality is present in all his work. Giving an ongoing social commentary and documentation of one of todays most individual and expressive photographers. His work develops as his context does, and his artistic personal response is what makes his work so effective.

(Price upon request at

Jens Stoltze graduated from the Royal Danish Art School in the mid-nineties and soon after began his career as an independent photographer working with major Danish and international clients. Stoltze works with great insensitivity and a strong vision of the perfect photo. He is a master of lighting and technique and since 2001 he moved on to fashion photography. His eye for beauty and capturing the true intimate expression with the model or people he photographs are magnificent. During his career as a professional photographer Stoltze has exhibited with several artistic photo stories covering different themes, e.g. including a story of the culture and everyday life in Japan.
In 2005 his passion for creative freedom and expression led him to initiate the international magazine S Magazine.
Stoltze works internationally from his base in Copenhagen and New York.

‘UNTITLED’ (2009)
(Price upon request at

French photographer Justino Esteves hails from Normandy and has been living in London for three years where he started his career as a photographer.
As a published photographer his commercial work has a glossy high end aesthetic, unlike his male nude portraiture which lends it’s self to the ‘straight up’ style of photography. This gives an intimate and honest portrayal of his subjects. From humorous to despondent, relaxed to confrontational, his work has a rapacious sexuality.

(Price upon request at
London based photographer Cathal O’Brien studied at St. Martins and his work has appeared in publications like LOVE Magazine and French Vogue. His films have been shown at various Fashion Week events, notably at the ‘TwoSee’ Film Event alongside Bruce LaBruce and at Selfridges department store. Focussing mainly on black and white imagery his work is equally successful in the moving image and in his exploration of colour, using dark opulent tones layered with a grainy mist. You can liken his artistic approach to that of Robert Mapplethorpe, capturing beautiful and intriguing images of friends and lovers. Inspired heavily by music there is an unpretentious and seductive aesthetic to his work, elegant capturing of stolen thoughts and moments.


Brazilian born Theo Firmo works across many artistic fields. He studied the sciences of communication, majoring in the Semiotics of Culture and it’s application to video and music. These studies have driven his main body of research to to be about the narrative of speech. His work exhibited here has an irresistible simplicity and innocence that strongly contrasts the subject matter, that could lead to notions of youth and experimentation. The lack of information is almost more informative, arousing and compelling than the full presence of nudity.


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