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The Beauty of Men: Celebrating Tenderness

March 2, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Free

Please join us for the opening reception of “The Beauty of Men: Celebrating Tenderness,” a solo art show featuring the work of new media artist John Waiblinger: Saturday, March 2nd, 2019, from 6:00-9:00 PM at Hellada Gallery in the arts district of downtown Long Beach.

This is a free event, open to the public. Refreshments will be served and original art pieces as well as art prints will be for sale by the artist. You are invited to meet the artist, enjoy the artwork, and celebrate the tenderness of masculinity as portrayed through Waiblinger’s admiring eye.

The art exhibit will run from March 2-16, with a closing reception and art talk on the topic of “Masculinity in Art” on Sunday, March 16th, from 1:30-4:00 pm.

***What Makes “The Beauty of Men” Captivating***

“The Beauty of Men” features post-photography compositions of men Waiblinger has appropriated via their pornographic performance. Waiblinger reconstructs these images within the realm of his imagination, combining them with his own photography to portray a masculinity that celebrates softness and intimacy, creating tension between the normative and the transgressive, investigating and broadening our perceptions of masculinity.

Particularly, juxtaposing photographs from gay pornography with the floral strokes of nature “places men in an environment typically reserved for women.” Waiblinger says, “It’s not often that men are seen in this kind of soft and tender manner…And I think it’s important to express that each and every one of these men is a sex worker. This is my way of honoring them and the joy they have given to me as an individual, and to say that they are something more than an object. That beauty is something that I want to share with the world.”

As a queer artist with an academic background who reinvented himself as a visual artist in his 60s, Waiblinger uses his fixation on the beauty of men to transfigure the carnal into his own embodiments of adoration and celebration.

***About the Artist: John Waiblinger***

John Waiblinger is a new media artist who explores masculinity and desire through his Post Photography compositions. Hailing from an academic background with degrees in English, Women’s Studies and Library Science, Waiblinger redefined himself as an artist in his early 60’s, first exhibiting work at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Arts in 2014. He exhibits his work regularly in Los Angeles galleries and has recently been heavily involved with Long Beach’s OUT LOUD Queer Arts Festival as the visual art curator.

In 2018 he completed a collaborative installation project with fellow artist Sean Yang focused on the “coming out process” at Cerritos College. Waiblinger’s first solo art show featuring “The Beauty of Men” took place in October 2018 at Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (LACDA). He will be a participating artist in this year’s SuperFine! Art Fair in downtown Los Angeles. Waiblinger is a member artist of the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, the Los Angeles Art Association and the Los Angeles Center of Photography. He resides and works in Hollywood, Calif.

Learn more at the artist’s website: http://johnwaiblinger.com/

Read an interview with the artist at Voyaga LA: http://voyagela.com/interview/check-john-waiblingers-artwork/

Watch a video interview with the artist about the “Beauty of Men” exhibit at LACDA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zHN0-QO8UQ&t=4s

***Praise for “The Beauty of Men” Exhibit***

“John Waiblinger is a true poet. He writes sonnets and love poems not in words but through his art, creating lyrical odes to men, both body and soul. The Beauty of Men is a graceful, lovely exhibition. [Waiblinger’s] intimate, tender, and discreet images take men’s bodies and places them in floral settings and among the lush patterns of nature.

In doing so, he transforms what were once highly sexualized, pornographic images,and makes them into something transcendent: desire has become love; arousal merely a way to convey utter adoration.

One of the most beautiful aspects of this work is the softness it conveys and pairs with strength. We are used to thinking of men as tough or hard, strong or capable; bodies firm and muscular. Waiblinger takes these bodies, and by weaving them with resilient vines and encasing them in tendrils, leaves, petals, branches – he shows us both the strength and fragility joined in all nature. He gives the viewer insight past the bodies he depicts and into the spirits they contain.”

—Art and Cake

“John Waiblinger creates lushly tender images of male beauty, often in a romantic setting. His digital images are carefully manipulated to position the men in his works in an intimate way, combining the men with images of nature….

These men, who rely on their bodies for their work, are humanized in Waiblinger’s work, with their spirit and essence the refining factor. The artist notes that after all, each of these men live a life outside of any pornographic performance, and his poignant acknowledgement of their personal existence infuses the artist’s work.”

—Diversions LA

“John takes the overt sexuality of traditional maleness and turns it into a form of eroticism that is romantic in tone, firmly rooted in nature. There is almost a Victorian poetic tenderness to his pieces, a trailing hand across leaves, a tender foot across damp moss. These compositions ache with a pregnant moment of beauty and rich connection…

However, it would be a mistake to assume that John’s work is placidly romantic, a Hallmark chaste platitude to love. John’s work is intensely erotic, he says much with little. The grunt of sex maybe missing, but this is an artist that adds so much more. There is tenderness here, there is connection, understanding, sympathy, and ultimately humanity…

That many of John’s figures derive from pornography, gives an added underlining of the artists deliberate attempt to shift perspective from the anonymity of pornography, the deliberate disconnectedness that pornography adopts and encourages, towards one where a fundamental connection is both encouraged and taken as a fundament.”

—John Hopper

We look forward to celebrating with you!

FAQs
Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
No, however, wine will be available for 21+.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?
Street parking and paid parking lots are available around the area.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Please contact the artist at john.waiblinger@gmail.com with any questions.

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