The hero, the damsel, the scholar, the goddess, the soldier, the mother, the king, and the seductress are just some of stereotypes that have been utilised by artists to characterise gender roles. The masculine and the feminine, presented as two sides of a coin, have proved to be fertile creative ground for artists. Behold examines the ways in which gender is and has been represented within The Suter collection.
As with many other art collections, the gender imbalance within The Suter is stark, with two thirds of the artworks within the collection having been created by men. Given the emphasis placed on male artists throughout history this statistic is unsurprising, but it is something the must and will change. Evenly presenting work by men and women, Behold asks us to consider the ways in which male and female artists present and confront gender norms. In this exhibition we see the ways in which male artists depict masculinity and femininity, and conversely how women artists portray the male and female form and psyche in their practice. Through their use of portraiture and figurative art we see the full spectrum of gender identity being played out.
Hyper-masculine physicality, stoic intelligence, contentious domesticity, and fragmented femininity are each exposed by the artists included in Behold. Their use or subversion of gender tropes within their artworks allow us to question the role gender plays in the way we understand art and ourselves.