Scott McEwan - Twixt or Tweener
Tweener is packed as hard packed as the power-packed body of a wrestler. Tweener is packed with information, not only across the board but layered upon it, technically, visually and as intersecting narratives that resonate in the recent body of neo-psychedelic paintings by Scott McEwan. This series provides the perfect opportunity for an intellectual workout in deconstruction although the work is as far from the super serious stances of intellectualism as can be for there is an element of play in McEwan's work as well.
For the purposes of trying to acknowledge the many permutations of meaning however, it is useful to deconstruct Tweener and in doing so the very phrase, now acknowledged - 'deconstructing tweener'—reveals another layer which is the push and pull of the subject matter itself. Built from references to the world of wrestling and backed up by an affirmation of the homo erotic contingencies of the sport, even the psychological arena where Tweener is performed is packed and the audience for the topic growing as interest in the world of queer wrestling comes into its own.
The flamboyance of the wrestling world is part of its attraction with over-the-top costumes, esoteric language, bigger-than-life personalities and exaggerated gestures akin to 'vamping'.
The physical rigour involved in building the body to become more than 'normal' through diet, exercise, and the use of drugs is easily co-referenced with cross dressing, transvestite and transsexual creativity, habits and trends. The third element in McEwan's mix, the psychedelic, also brings in colourful, hallucinogenic, reality altering elements. That the seemingly masculine sport of wrestling is depicted in the company of expressive gay sociological tendencies and the passive stance of flower power - and is accomplished with both sincerity and technical virtuosity—attests to the complexity of McEwan's narrative. That the work is bright and uplifting in aspect yet far from superficial in psychology reinforces the feeling of jam-packed worth.
McEwan had embedded a face in each of the Tweener panels. Behind the layers of colour, fragmentation, allusion and attraction, there is a person. The lashes may be flower petals, the nose a muscular elbow, the mouth a rippling torso and the over-all a mask but rather than an obfuscation of the humanity embedded there—McEwan's work reveals the reasons why life is cause for a celebration.
Copyright © 2011, Julie Oakes