Nude images of men in the Gilson Memorial Gallery in King Hall have a greater purpose than just being works of art. Senior Art Major Roy Michael Johnson said that the message is to take male physique, which is usually ripped, and put it in what is traditionally thought of as feminine poses.
“Tracing back to Greek mythology, male statures through artists’ work emphasize masculinity and this kind of dominance,” Johnson said.
Johnson is one of the artists participating in the Mass Senior Art Exhibit, with his work on display until Sept. 3. Every senior is required to sign up for a time slot during the year to display their work and the art is judged or critiqued by professors of the Art Department.
“Usually before the show, an instructor will go through the show to give feedback before the show opens,” Johnson said.
The exhibit is a way to show off the work that Johnson said took about a year and a half of dedication. He created his works by a mix of oil on canvas paintings and intimate photography.
Johnson said he started painting in high school, but it wasn’t until he was a freshman that he decided for sure that he wanted to be a painter. When not busy with schoolwork, Johnson said he works at Applebee’s as a server. Among the spectators, he said, were some of his regular guests at Applebee’s that were used to seeing him at work. He said that serving was a great marketing tool to get the word out about the show.
“For anybody that has waited tables before, my artwork is a great tool to fall back on after dealing with the stress of work,” Johnson said.
Junior art major Daniel Swendson saw the show for the first time on Tuesday afternoon. In one section, Johnson uses a single color for an entire pose which Swendson said reminded him of looking through a colored lens.
“It was interesting to see the male form portrayed in such a way,” Swendson said.
Freshman art major Devin Parkman viewed the show this past week as well. Parkman said that he has known Johnson for about a year and a half now and believes that Johnson is much more defined as an artist.
“He projects his messages much more clearly and it’s easy to see how he has grown from where he used to be,” Parkman said.
Parkman said he wasn’t surprised at all by what he saw in Johnson’s display.
“Once you get past the nudity, it seemed to fit his personality and expressed originality. Roy is comfortable with who is. What you see is what you get,” Parkman said
Information on this artist’s and upcoming artists’ work can be obtained at the Art Department Office. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some of the work on display is also for sale.
Chris Hopkins/The Bulletin