Introduction to the art of Michael Tole.

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1 Introduction to the art of Michael Tole. Michael Tole is an American artist who was born in Michael Tole has had several gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Conduit Gallery. There have been many articles about Michael Tole, including Photo-realism at Cain Schulte written by Kenneth Baker for San Francisco Chronicle in Backwards and in Stiletto Boots appropriates the macho genre of hunting paintings by Peter Paul Rubens. In it I place Diana, goddess of the hunt, in a position of power and triumph, thus opening Rubens s all male world to women. This has obvious corollaries in todays society as women have and are

2 making a place for themselves in formerly male dominated fields. Diana is an ancient archetype of a woman a goddess achieving and surpassing any peer in a field dominated by men. Another aspect of the work deals with fashion, and the fact that women s fashion tends to adorn at the expense of functionality. Therefore, like Ginger Rogers, women must do everything their male counterparts do, Backwards and in high heels. The wardrobe selections are appropriated from the 2018 Moschino spring/summer line.

3 A Death of Sardanapalus is a revisionist history in which I reimagine the fall of the last Assyrian king, famously portrayed by Delacroix, as it

4 SHOULD have ended. In my reimagining, far from being passive victims, Sardanapalus s concubines are about to perform a coup de gras on the wretched tyrant, without him suspecting a thing. Like so many men that have recently been toppled for their bad behavior toward women, Sardanapalus is about to suffer a vengeance spawned by his hedonistic appetites. The Concert appropriates and marries two disparate art historical references, Titian s, The Flaying of Marsyas, and Barbara Kruger s, You Construct Intricate Rituals Which Allow You to Touch the Skin of Other Men. This piece seeks to probe the source and nature of our discomfort with the nude male body. In our culture, the male body is rarely displayed as an object of beauty. When it is, it is automatically described as homo-erotic. To avoid our discomfort, male nudity must always be contextualized into a narrative of fighting, dying, struggling, or making. As Kruger says, We construct intricate rituals, to allow us to appreciate the male form. There is no male equivalent to the beauty pageant.

5 After ten years of prolific artistic production and exhibition around the country, Michael has taken the past four years to re-evaluate and re-invent his work, a statement says. This new work reflects his loss of innocence

6 due to an increasing awareness of, and evolving understanding of American pop culture. This dawning awareness results from a reintroduction to pop music via his young daughters, his relocation to Tempe, AZ, and near proximity to Southern California.

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8 This painting reacts to the John Berger quote: Men act, women appear. This truism has been demonstrated in Western art countless times over the past two millennia. Second wave feminists, in particular Linda Nochlin, have expounded upon how Western art has turned women into passive objects of delectation. This is settled case law, in my opinion, as in the opinion of most people. It is undeniable. However, the inverse of this truism has been little talked about namely that Western art rarely allows the male figure to simply appear. The male figure, according to many art treatises, must always be active, virile, strong. The male body is valued for what it can do, not simply for what it is or how it appears. Among the few times the male figure is allowed simply to appear for aesthetic appreciation is when that male figure is dead or sleeping. Examples of this are Michelangelo s, Dying Slave, Girodet s, Endymion, any number of St. Sebastians and Pietas. This beautiful male nude is immobilized and dying, thus permitting him to express his aesthetic value for the first time. I suspect we must kill beautiful men to appreciate them aesthetically because society s construct of masculinity includes the male body as perpetual threat. There are reasons for this, of course, but it should also be noted that our society s ideal for the male form is a body capable of threat and forceful coercion, not passivity. I feel this complex social dynamic is worthy of conscious consideration.

9 This painting was inspired by a trio of young women I saw at Disneyland with their younger siblings as my wife and were taking our daughters there for the first time. Believe it or not, these outfits are relatively true to what they wore. I found this a surprising wardrobe choice for many reasons, not the least of which was that the sacrifices made for a certain kind of self presentation would seem to negate their own experiential enjoyment of the setting. Yet, the act of conspicuous display and self invention seemed quite in keeping with the Disney ethos. I have found this kind of personal display to be much more common here in Arizona and California than my home state of Texas, and so I have given much thought to the implications of this cultural difference, especially because, as modest Midwesterner, it makes me a bit uncomfortable. As a well indoctrinated second wave feminist, this culture of display has challenged many notions I previously held, and the questions it has posed for me regarding personal freedom, societal expectations, gender equity, the male gaze, female empowerment, subject/object duality and the potential pleasures and pitfalls for both parties,

10 have had a profound influence on the rest of the work in this series. Links Michael Tole : Bibliography Artist: Michael Tole Conduit Gallery Michael Tole Artist Profile with Bio MutualArt.com Michael Tole Hi-Fructose Magazine Art Related Index This is an index of art that I have found profound, interesting, beautiful or enlightening. In any event, I find that art soothes my soul. I enjoy painting figurative and portraits in oils using the more traditional Flemish technique, but it never really brought me the kind of money I need to live off of. Such is the life of a painter today. Please enjoy.

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13 Articles & Links You ll not find any big banners or popups here talking about cookies and privacy notices. There are no ads on this site (aside from the hosting ads a necessary evil). Functionally and fundamentally, I just don t make money off of this blog. It is NOT monetized. Finally, I don t track you because I just don t care to. You can start reading the articles by going HERE. You can visit the Index Page HERE to explore by article subject. You can also ask the author some questions. You can go HERE to find out how to go about this. You can find out more about the author HERE. If you have concerns or complaints, you can go HERE. If you want to make a donation, you can go HERE.

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