The Drawers - C. Scott McEwan   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Weird Queer Freaky Xmas

When two circles are eccentric, they don't share the same center although they do share the same space. Scott McEwan's work is within the circle of art - accomplished, current, informed and ardent; and yet it is slightly off center. It is this skew that catches, engages and provokes interest. The personal circle, Scott's circle, that is inhabiting the greater art circle, is centered. In fact it is holistic and the art work contains signifiers of a well rounded experience. The work is about wrestling, queer culture, pop iconography and graphic imagery. It tells us a story. Scott is one of the main characters.

The paintings on paper and canvas tell it all. He's an art teacher, a wrestler and he's gay. He has asthma. He hangs out with a colorful, cross-dressing crowd. He has brilliant taste and a fine hand. He is committed to his art practice and currently has a habit of drawing black ink portraits, varying in size. The smallest are drawn on the cards given out in gay bars to pass on telephone numbers with the hope of future assignations. There are also larger than life size formats, often committed to paper from memory, of all of the men that he meets. His world is lined with men, grappling and cavorting in masculine demonstrations of fitness and strength. The wrestlers, dressed like super-heroes exist in an atmosphere of clouds, flames and bubbles where every element is outlined in black - a cartoon and candy-colored depiction of a hairy, sweating, sensuous sport.

There are pansies throughout - that antiquated derogatory term once used for homosexual men. Yet like the resilience of the gay culture, Scott too has reclaimed, with punchy pride, the slur and worn it on his heart sleeve. 'Queer' at one time described a mentally unbalanced, deranged or qualmish individual and then extended into a slang derivation for 'homosexual'. The homosexual community adopted the term and, with fey bravado, ran with it. This is where Scott McEwan shines. He shies away from nothing. He allows the combination of brash colors, whimsical lyricism and an enchanted oeuvre free-range in the world of wrestling. Starting with a random word from the lingo of the ring; he builds on it visually, inserting his characters into a turbulent, active world where excretions spurt high and explosions, just like in the comics, are a matter of course with no more significance in the echelon of masculine attributes than the veined petals of a pansy.

His skew is clearly stated, his circle is intact and he's spinning but not out of control. Like a dervish, he twirls and as the sequins catch flashes of ambient light, he sparkles.

Copyright 2007,  Julie Oakes