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All The Young Dudes

Aug 7, 2014  ·  2 min read

By Benjamen Judd

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If you’ve ever wanted to turn the tables on the objectification of genders now’s your chance. In All The Young Dudes at the Belconnen Arts Centre, Abigail Varney and Samuel Townsend explore the beauty of the male form in a series of candid and rather haunting photographs.

Artistic practice in Western culture has historically been a rather male-centric endeavour. The Guerilla Girls infamously brought this to modern societies awareness in the early 90s when they posted a series of prints pointing out the ratio of gender representation at the Met (less than five per cent of artists shown were women, yet 85 per cent of the art was naked female forms). What drove this was the way that maleness – and the male form – assumed an invisibility within society as a gender norm, flying under the radar as it were. Thankfully, this is no longer the case and we are seeing a new rush of artists pointing out these inequalities in representation and having a lot of fun breaking them down.

“Society is not accustomed to seeing beauty in young males”, stated Germaine Greer in reference to her 2003 publication, The Boy. The photographic work of Abigail Varney and Samuel Townsend, in their exhibition All the Young Dudes, explores notions of beauty perceived in the male subject and the various guises he assumes. The portraits, spanning the course of a decade, are meditations on masculinity and its ever-evolving flexibility. Each image contemplates the unique form and physicality of the selected characters as they forge their own ideas of what it is to be male. The dual lens, both male and female, investigates aspects of strength and vulnerability, youth and beauty.

All The Young Dudes by Abigail Varney and Samuel Townsend is now showing at the Belconnen Arts Centre until August 24.


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