The Drawers - Zachari Logan Commentary by Julie Oakes

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Figuration - 2009, Headbones Gallery

Zachari Logan exposes himself as an art piece. He has sculpted his body to near classical perfection. He further references the classics by assimilating the poses that models have traditionally assumed in studio art classes but he brings in contemporary clothing and props to alleviate the distancing of the formal pose and make for an unusual intimacy. The figures, larger than life size, hark to the grand works of the renaissance, Tintoretto, Rubens, or Titian, when they used figuration to evoke mythological and religious narratives. That Logan uses grandiose scale in conjunction with the quotidian set-ups provokes a sense of voyeurism yet there is no allusion to sexuality other than the fact that the genitals are present and exposed. In fact, the sole allusion to the potential for penetration is in the rough hewn spear piercing the side of one of the figures in The Invincibles, one of the drawings from The Crowd Series.

Without the clue of the red drawing of two men kissing or the title referring to gay pride, there is no evident allusion to homosexuality, The ambivalence of the non didactic  helps to 'normalize' a sexual orientation that could still be considered a marginalised one, although according to recent statistics, one in ten males are openly homosexual.

Although there is diversity within this series, there is a consistency that rules with unflinching surety. There are no women here. There are only men and each man is an archetypical, perfect specimen of maleness - Zachari Logan, a prince among men with an Apollonian body. His seemingly autistic, self centered concentration seems to rest easy with the sum of his selves absolutely sufficient.

Yet there is humility, a soft stance in his way of drawing with a manner reminiscent of romantic illustration. Flaunting a Spartan nakedness, these 'Logans' inhabit a focused world, each figure realistically modeled with dramatic shadows adding clarity and dignity. Each version of Logan is concentrated on his task, unaware that he inhabits the frame with other aspects of himself. Each is hanging out with himself, so to speak, relaxed, naked - no problems. The drawings are larger than the normal concept of drawing. Drawing has a history as preparatory work, secretive intimate recordings, unfinished, undeveloped, partial ideas that have been given a cursory life on paper. Zachari Logan transcends both the physical and the conceptual limitations of drawings. He blows up the intimate and grants the subject a monumental, dignified bearing. Zachari Logan, figuring it out, has 'outed' the male figure.

There's something about the honesty of one's circumstance that sets the scene for powerful images. We are all involved through our physicality in a conversation with figuration but the personal range of specific experience is varied. As Mahmoud Meraji harkens to his Iranian roots with the use of symbols framing portraits of his family, self and friends; his son, Mehrad, aggrandises friends and family with a positivism born of the undaunted belief that talent lends to a fresh artistic career. Zachari Logan's triplet nude self portraits radically poise the mundane while Susan Low-Beer's ceramic children leap in trance-like suspended animation. Each artist, 'figuring' it out, brings to bear the authenticity of personal practice and life orientations.

Copyright 2009,  Julie Oakes