Artists expand their practices

Zachari Logan’s Green Man probes the idea of masculinity rooted in the fragile web of nature


ZACHARI LOGAN AND ANDREW HARWOOD at Paul Petro Contemporary Art (980 Queen West), to July 11. 416-979-7874. See listing. Rating: NNNN


As the notion of queer extends itself and diversifies, the work of queer artists has followed suit. In Ditches, Dandies And Lions, Zachari Logan, an artist known for his figure-based work, examines ancient masculine archetypes in a collection of mind-bogglingly intricate pencil drawings.

Above and beyond its stunning technical proficiency, the work draws on layers of art historical reference. Often rendered in blue pencil, it combines the delicacy of Delftware with the romantic nature symbolism of the Pre-Raphaelites and ancient Euro-pean mythology.

The largest drawing, Green Man, resurrects the pagan vegetative deity and his close cousin, the wild man, or woodwose. Entirely made up of vegetation and woodland life, the figure reminds us that a masculinity rooted entirely in the fragile web of living things was once of central cultural importance.

It could also be a tongue-in-cheek conceptual reference to the ecology of ditches, those areas off the main road where new and varied flora and fauna grow. The wild man is not just an ancient pagan figure but a potent symbol of queerness as a rich and eccentric flowering in the margins of mainstream culture.

Andrew Harwood’s signature sequin pieces in Diva Remix (in the back room) extend his innovative MFA work Notes On Funeral Camp, which examines Susan Sontag’s signature essay Notes On Camp in the light of queer alternative spirituality and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s work on death and dying. As such, it is both a celebration and an interrogation of the place of camp in contemporary queer culture, at once glamorous and ghostly.    

art@nowtoronto.com

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