The Drawers - Angus Bungay   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Skinheads with pates stripped of the vanity and diversity of hairstyles have become a symbol for masculinity. The shape of the skull is exposed and there is nothing to impede the vision; this is man ready for war as the shearing of locks increases rather than diminishes the illusion of strength and, unlike Samson, the contemporary reading of this minimal personal presentation is one that comes with an almost obligatory (if you know what's good for you!) sense of respect. Angus Bungay takes this 'soldier style' as a blank page and on the divested heads superimposes characters that are in support of, or at odds with, the original severity.

Trussed and leathered, spiked and tattooed, the heads remain maleficent. There is the implied drama of a ritual enacted in defense of an authority beyond our limited reference, a hierarchy imposing sentence on the skinhead. Blind folded, eyes and mouth taped shut, features obliterated by a leather patch - all allude to a discipline that has been metered out by a power outside of our quotidian, normal understanding. But when the same stern heads (furrowed brow, thin pinched lips; isn't that a sign that an individual is untrustworthy?) are colored with the designs following the contours of the head like face paint - they lose the commanding edge. The status quo shifts and the viewer is the dictator. Ridicule creeps in. There is a ducky quite obviously perched on the skinhead's pate and all that's missing is the squirt gun in hand to blow the bully away.

The traditional role of the clown, to poke fun at that which is sometimes too heavy to comprehend except through humor, comes into play and the fire becomes a friendly round of rubber bullets. The humor is hip. The ground is level and the draftsmanship admirable and because there is sufficient menace remaining in the imagery to command respect, the rights of individuality remain undisputed. Masculine imagery is balanced by a healthy attack of silliness - a yellow rubber ducky perched on the head of the immutable warrior.

Copyright 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers