The Drawers - Daryl Vocat   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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For Font's Sake

Memory can make hyperbole of childhood and adolescent impressions that stands out in the mental landscape as larger than life. The script in Daryl Vocat's work is demonstrative of this dynamic, and yet the message is one of vulnerability. Daryl has a mission. He has a message that he wants to get across, and he uses the addition of words in his pictures in order to make sure that there is no mistake as to what he is saying. He leaves no room for confusion.

Vocat sets up depictions of boy scouts and lets their thoughts be examined, hearts pulsing secret yearnings for the love of other boys across the page. He adds the innocent badges of honour, the costumes of a mild young military obsession, and then he brings the little boy up to date. The exchange between the vulnerable, trusting nascent love letters and the harsh reality of the gay man (little boy grown) is aptly reinforced by the text and a forthright delineation of gay politics.

The rendition is illustrational, but it has been given the distance and safety of a style from the fifties or sixties, before Vocat was even born. It harkens back to a more covert age in gay politics where closeted emotions were the source of stress, and open declarations of a queer sexual preference were shunned. This atmosphere, executed within the clarity of outlines, clichés and mottos (fag, gay, be prepared) loses focus as the boys become men. Boy to Man juxtaposes a graphic rendition of a scout leader paired with a scout and a vague, held-back version of two men, one mounting the other, or at least the positioning of the two figures suggests that this is the case. The wide-eyed belief in childhood infatuations with other boys seems to have developed into a more overt explanation of male, same-sex love.

In Indoor Field Day, Vocat depicts a boy lying in bed. The visuals in the background suggest that he reading a medical book. This print lends the nuance of fantasy and young imaginings to the perusal of biological material. There is the insinuation that eroticism is spurred by the wonder of his anatomy, although there is nothing overt to reinforce this suspicion. There is also a similar eroticism at work in the viewing of Daryl Vocat's work. There is something coy and sexy in play, blurred as it is in the patina of times past or set up within his tasteful colorings and formats. It is the kind of work that may arouse, for the pieces themselves are seductively attractive.

Copyright © 2007,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers