American Fear, 2016


The artist VENFIELD8 has always been subversive. His images routinely skewer society’s perceptions of our consumerist culture and our attraction/revulsion of male nudes. He upends preconceived notions of beefcake erotica by giving gravity to images you might ordinarily just swipe by. Doing so would be a shame and to your determent, because unlike the millions of images on the internet - especially those depicting pretty men, his work does more than elevate the genre, it breaks the mold. Take, for instance his latest piece, titled American Fear. In a post election environment, it perfectly encapsulates the current and historical mood, brought into acute focus, not by being blatant, but by posing narrative questions. Like all good art, it engages you by withholding any easy answers and leaves you to search yourself to grasp it’s true meaning. It looks like an old photograph, folded, creased and hidden away in someone’s pocket - concealing an image so incendiary and strangely erotic you instinctively know it should’t be shown. It is a dirty picture, but not for the obvious reasons. Its not about what you see, but how you feel. The model is at once defiant and vulnerable, exhibiting the artist’s trademark whiff of fashion glamour but in a situation far from the glossy pages of a magazine. It is an uneasy tableaux, full of layered dichotomy and mystery. VENFIELD8 knows how to play the race card, but also the sex, luxury and beauty ones. He gets masculinity and social hypocrisy, and with American Fear, you have a master showing his hand. C. Hutchins Nov 10, 2016