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JOE RICHARDSON

JOE RICHARDSON

My work arrives as a result of examining male behaviour in film, television and in pubs and bars, dealing with anxiety surrounding success and the performance of ‘masculinity’.

 
 

The works operate as commentators, facades and stages for ‘masculinity’ and male behaviour to be played out on, examined,and ridiculed. They question whether failure can provide cathartic liberation from ‘masculine’  norms and notions of how men should behave. Looney Tunes character ‘Wile. E. Coyote’ has become a prominent figure in my work. As a child I was endlessly entertained by Wile E.’ Sisyphean determination to catch Road Runner. Wile E. constantly fails in his endeavours, he is a victim of perpetual failure. ‘Nude Looking Over Her Right Shoulder’ places Road Runner in the classic pose of the reclining female nude in a parody of Modigliani’s 1917 painting of the same name.

The painting could be read as Road Runner being portrayed as the object of Wile E’s affection and uncompromising desire, or, as the self-reflective root of Wile E’s perpetual failure. How do these failures affect Wile. E? What are his coping mechanisms for dealing with his infinite lack of success? ‘Wile E. sings Everything Happens To Me’ goes some way to trying to answer these questions. I question how Wile E. (as a metaphor for men in general) deals with lack of success. Does Wile E suffer in silence? Does Wile E practice using TNT at home to hone his skills? (i.e. sliding their glasses along the bar) Or, does Wile E. end a long day chasing Road Runner by hitting the bar, having a whiskey and grabbing the microphone to wallow in self-pity? Can humour be found in the failure in the earnest desire to succeed and the subsequent failure?