I really like the work of Aaron McIntosh, an artist who combines found materials, collage, drawing, and fiber to make compelling work that explores gender, gender expectations, and family dynamic.
Aaron made some work a few years back that uses fiber in a very unique sculptural way, evoking images of Eva Hesse's work-
but with a very contemporary and maybe even technological twist.
Often inspired by the form of the target a form Aaron considers gendered...
... targets are indicative of an end, whether it is the end of a life or the focusing of attention on the final goal, the end result. To find the target, aim at it and shoot is the endpoint of a hunt or game. The idea of choosing a target goal represents the winnowing-out of other goals and tackling the most fruitful goal. Notions of target-driven hunting have penetrated commercial interests, as seen in large retailer, Target®. Behind Target’s® logo is the same “power of the hunt” mentality: no need to search all the stores in town when there is one store that will quickly end your quest of the best bargains. With ties to hunting, sport, tools, efficiency and termination, targets can be surmised a symbol of masculinity.
In his statement he says:
Heteronormative ideals of love, romance, sex and sexuality are widely distributed in popular culture and are embedded in a diverse array of objects, design motifs and texts. Sourcing patterned cloth, lace, wallpaper, valentines, romance novels and erotic magazines, I extract the juiciest bits of sexual language and symbolism and piece together objects that transcend the original materials and context...I highlight stereotypical differences, but also suggest potential harmony. These works question our larger social constructions of normality and abnormality, pleasure and disturbance, high and low culture, as they pertain to ideas of love, romance, sex and sexuality.His newest work often utilizes the found images and text of romance novels.
Often mixing materials from both straight and gay romance novels in his act of collage.
One particularly strong series is when he removes the female from the romance novel cover image and you are left with an image of a male in a what seems as a somewhat vulnerable and feminine position -adoringly looking and holding a vacuous space.
Aaron is in the Designing Thread exhibit and I will be curious to see what work is included and if the opportunity allows look forward to seeing his work in person . His use and skill at collage is quite impressive.
To see more of Aarons work go here.