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There's a lot of pressure in modern society to conform with established "norms", and often an individual's attempts to do so will be a source of continuing pain and conflict for them.
Male; Real/Ideal is a curated exhibition of photographic art about an important area of our attempts to conform - the need for men in society to conform to a specific body image that is considered to be desirable and the norm.
It mines the social conscience and encourages men to explore their own feelings about themselves.
Male; Real/Ideal is the first in a series of five art exhibitions on the topic of men and their bodies, and it focuses on men born with a thin body form (sometimes called ectomorph). Such men are often unable to put on weight easily or to develop the overtly large muscles which are considered to be highly desirable by many men and women. Anybody who has seen American gay muscle men will instant recognise the body shape which is considered most desirable in that culture.
The exhibition features the work of seven artists, each of whom is paired with a male model who has concerns about how their body image does not match the ideal. Each artist/model pair will produce two images, one displaying an uncomfortable situation where the model feels judged by his physical attributes, and one where the models character feels totally at home within his own skin.
These images were first used as part of a unique multimedia experience at The Mill Gallery in September 2013. It told the story of thin men who feel disenfranchised in some way from society, and unable to ever fit it in properly due to the natural limitations of their bodies. Following the success of the first showing of Male; Real/Ideal, it is opening again at Gemtree Wines McLaren Flat as part of the City of Onkaparinga's Shimmer Photographic Festival from September 7-29.
At the conclusion of the series of exhibitions, it is planned to produce an art book showcasing the imagery with the aim of spreading awareness about the effect of stereotypes on men's physical and mental health. The series will also be documented online: the stories of men from the community will be presented along with the images and included on the blog.
Male; Real/Ideal is the creation of Brodie Paparella who had experienced at first hand how some friends, contemporaries and colleagues had grappled with their self esteem due to their body shape.
The stunning display is curated by emerging artist and curator Kat Coppock, who has previously curated the egg-sitingFeathers Exhibition at Format and the equally unconventional Tetratologists Inc. It displays the work of artists Meg Cowell, Amy Herrman, Dave Laslett, Zezette Lindquist, Louie Tarr, Kat Coppock, and Cherylinn Baker.
A very relevant topic & event. Thanks heaps for letting us know about this. My son (now 11yo) has always been "skinny; underweight; on the low percentile (not even on the percentile chart for many of his younger years)" & was subject to many investigations for it which totally stressed me out. I readily identify with the cover art/flyer for the "Male: Real/Ideal" exhibition too! That photo is spot-on with how my son feels about playing sport - he's afraid to get hurt because of his lack of muscle conditioning & strength too. I'm so sick of others asking us "what sport does he play" (akin to "what do you do for work"). Anyway, I'll DEFINITELY be dropping in to check this exhibition out!