Art: Zachari Logan

Zachari Logan was born in 1980 in Saskatoon (Canada) where he currently lives and works. He is a Canadian artist who paints and draws his own body as subject, engaging personal narratives that contradict and question existing notions of masculine representation. As a queer man interested in the vocabulary of realist figurative painting and drawing, his body is catalyst for his fascination with masculine stereotypic portrayals. Utilizing historic themes of male bravado, heroism and narcissism he juxtaposes the mundane realities of everyday contemporary life. His narratives are situated within the complex visual language of Neo-classical, Baroque, and Renaissance painting. This specific vocabulary adds both psychological and metaphoric weight to his conceptual process; locating his marginalized identity within historical and contemporary archetypes.

"My body is a catalyst for my fascination with stereotypic masculine portrayals.The act of weightlifting, attaining a well-sculpted body is envisioned stereotypically as a visual mark of masculine enterprise, an act I partake in on a daily basis. Without needing to see me engaged in the act itself, my drawn body infers a performative athleticism. This athleticism coupled with the theatricality of a doppelganger or triplet existing on the same stage is designed to subtly evoke feelings of competition, fear and omnipotence- all in relation to performance anxiety. Although in most of these drawings I depict my body in a life-sized scale, the pictorial space in these drawings is quite shallow, with enough room for the figures to exist and interact. This lack of spatial depth is referential to Neo-Classical space, in which Spartan bodies were used to visually epitomize the strength of empire. The containment of space in these drawings is structured to illustrate a sense of claustrophobia and is directly referential to the viewer’s own body. This is a space that is in-between or marginal, a visual realm that is too small to exist within comfortably — but is considerable enough to contemplate being in.

In both my graphic work and my painting, I confront the notion that masculinity is homogenous and question heteronormative sexuality as the origin by which all other male sexual realities are judged. Recently my painting has become more literally autobiographical, in the sense that I am exploring my own image as subject matter. While I am still analyzing constructions of masculinity through the exploration of archetypal male identities, I am performing a sort of drag by impersonating these identities using a semblance of my own image and costuming.

The staged backdrops, which contain these performances both minimalistic and bordering on tableau, further reference the constructed nature of sexuality and identity. While my drawings continue the same types of exploration into masculinity with the use of constructed images and elaborate backdrops, they are more allegorical in nature. Visually, I am interested in Neo-Classical and Baroque spatial realms. In my work I mimic these styles referencing art-historical masculine portrayals. I then undermine these very constructions by returning the instinctually heterosexist gaze with a self-anxious queer narrative." words by Zachari Logan

What is your belief about narcissism?
All artists are narcissistic in a way, (and I don’t mean this negatively) we all create work which is about ourselves. Issues which affect us- I use myself as a mirror to engage viewers in a conversation about masculine stereotypes and queerness. The repetitive depiction of self in my work indicates an innate narcissism on the part of myself, the artist. A person auto-eroticizing his or her own image, seeing in him or herself that which is sexually appealing is an aspect of everyday life that I wanted to reveal in this series. In heterosexist society, the act of gazing at one’s self is stereotypically accepted behavior for women and homosexual men as it is considered to be an effeminate act. This type of conduct is often stereotyped to have serious homoerotic undertones.
Auto-eroticization is so ubiquitous, particularly to most men, that they often rebuff doing it. Unapologetically employing the rhetoric of self-satisfaction within my work helps to de-stabilize heterocentric notions of queer relationship dynamics. While playing nicely into the stereotype that homosexual men and women substitute another person of the same sex in place of their own unattainable selves.

Do you consider your art to be gay? What part of you, as agay man shows up in your paintings?
The paintings and drawings are about my own body- they are also about historical and contemporary constructions of masculinity- gay being one of those. I am a gay man so the work is partially about how my body is perceived because of that fact. A lot of the more recent work is about the anxiety which exists as a product of socially constructed masculine archetypes, I am enacting or portraying many of these characters and situations to explore things like auto-eroticization and the ways in which dominant heterosexist society stereotypes gay men’s relationships much of the work centers itself around ideas of narcissism. The repetitive depiction of self in my work indicates for viewers an innate narcissism on the part of me, the artist. This questioning of intentions is intended to contribute to a sense of discomfort within my narrative structure. A person auto-eroticizing his or her own image, seeing in him or herself that which is sexually appealing is an aspect of everyday life that I wanted to reveal.

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